New Chair for Natural Devon, intern op - and other updates

Local Nature Partnership

Welcome to the Spring 2018 issue of Natural Devon's e-newsletter

Natural Devon (Devon Local Nature Partnership) is a collaboration of all those working to ensure that a healthy natural environment underpins a high quality of life across the county. Please get involved - see

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Farewell and welcome......


Farewell from Suzanne Goodfellow

"After 5 amazing years, I am stepping down from the Chairmanship of Natural Devon. I want to say a huge thank you to the Board and Executive members of the LNP who have been fantastically enthusiastic and supportive. Since 2012, they have generously shared their skills, knowledge and networks to build a great partnership across all sectors focussing on the benefits of the environment for our health and prosperity.

I am really delighted to welcome our new Chair, James Szymankiewicz. He brings a whole new range of skills to the Chairmanship and a breath of North Devon (and the sea). I wish him and everyone involved with this vibrant partnership the very best for the future.

Fortunately for me this isn’t farewell as I shall still be involved with the LNP through my role as Chair of the Devon Wildlife Trust."

On behalf of the LNP, we would like to thank Suzanne for all of her hard work over the past 5 years.  We wish her the best of luck in her new role as Chair of the Devon Wildlife Trust and look forward to working with her in the future.


Welcome to our new Chair 

Our new Chair is Dr James Szymankiewicz a North Devon GP who is passionate about protecting and managing Devon's environment and reconnecting communities with the natural world.

James is currently Chair of the North Devon GP Collaborative Board representing the 22 North Devon practices.  He has been a Devon Clinical Commissioning Group locality board member and was involved in the health sector's Sustainability and Transformation Plan review process. A passionate environmentalist, he is a founder member of Plastic Free North Devon, which he currently chairs.  When he is not working James spends as much time as possible in the sea with his family!   

Watch the YouTube clip which James produced for Naturally Healthy May 

Other new Board and Executive members

We have also had a few other changes on the Board and Executive.  On the Board Jill Davies, Chief Officer at South Hams Community and Voluntary Services has replaced Lyn Winter as our community sector rep,  Mark Wallace, Director at Beaford Arts, has joined to represent the arts and culture sector and Phil Collins has joined as an independent member. 

On our Executive Group Simon Bates, Green Infrastructure Project Manager for the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point  has replaced Jonny Miller as Green Infrastructure lead, and Ben Totterdell from Exmoor National Park Authority has replaced Paul Martin as Outdoor Learning lead.  

Also goodbye and huge thanks to Max Anderson who has helped to coordinate the LNP (and this newsletter) for the last two years and is now off to start a PhD with Professor Fiona Mathews at Sussex University.

Six month paid internship opportunity - Devon LNP and Devon Maritime Forum

We are looking for an enthusiastic graduate who is interested in gaining experience in partnership working and communications to help with the Devon LNP and Devon Maritime Forum.  If you have graduated within the last two years and are passionate about our marine and terrestrial environments and the links to social and economic wellbeing (particularly the Naturally Healthy agenda) please contact  No age restrictions apply.  This post will be advertised in early June on the Environment Jobs website.


Our 2018 Conference - thanks to all those involved!

We held our 3rd conference on March 16th, at Exeter Racecourse with 220 delegates and lots of talks and workshops. Particular thanks to Professor Iain Stewart, Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute, Plymouth University for his inspiring keynote speech.   Visit the 2018 conference web pages for copies of the presentations and some pics.


Natural Capital and the Local Enterprise Partnership

Devon, Somerset and Plymouth LNPs have been working with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and Joint Committee to ensure that Natural Capital is embedded into the new Productivity Strategy.  We are now working with the LEP to develop a Natural Capital document for the Heart of the South West area to clarify why Natural Capital is critical for economic and social wellbeing and what we all need to do to develop a 'Natural Capital Approach' to all our work.  The document will include a range of case studies from across the region.  More information shortly or contact


On January 30th we launched the Devon Special Species Initiative at an evening event with over 100 attendees and talks from Devon species experts.  The project involved Devon County Council, Devon Biodiversity Records Centre and Devon's species experts working together to update the 1998 Devon BAP list of priority species.  We now have a (very) long list of Priority Species as well as a list of 96 'Special Species' for which Devon has a particular responsibility.  Next steps include discussions around a potential special species coastal bid and ensuring that the lists are used in the planning process.  Huge thanks to all Devon species experts for their input to this massive piece of work - especially to Rob Wolton who got the lists finished.  

For more information, presentations and video clips from the event, visit the Devon Special Species pages


This May, Devon and Somerset's Local Nature Partnerships once more organised Naturally Healthy May to celebrate the physical and mental health benefits of being active in the beautiful outdoors and encourage everyone to get involved.  Thank you to all those involved.  For more information see the Naturally Healthy month web page


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Connecting Actively with Nature

The delivery phase of our flagship Naturally Healthy project, supported by Sport England, begins this June following lots of hard work by Active Devon and partners during the development phase.  Priority targets are for 3000 over 55s to become regularly active in the natural environment and to establish a network of 360 local 'Ambassadors' to lead the way.  More information to follow soon.........


Learning from the National Park health projects

Over the past three years, the Dartmoor and Exmoor projects have helped people to access the physical health and mental wellbeing ‘services’ offered by the iconic protected landscapes of our two National Parks.  Useful project evaluations and toolkits have been developed by Plymouth University - see the Dartmoor or Exmoor websites


Ash Dieback in Devon - positive action

Ash Dieback is predicted to kill 95% of fully grown or nearly mature ash trees in Devon over the coming years and the Devon Ash Dieback Forum has been set up to help mitigate impacts.

Devon Wildlife Trust has, on behalf of the Forum, co-ordinated a proposal for 'Saving Devon's Treescapes' which is now one of eight projects being incorporated into the Woodland Trust national  three year Lottery Bid 'Trees Outside Woodlands'.    

The Forum is promoting three key principles for replacing trees, particularly outside woodlands.  Visit the Devon Ash Dieback page for a copy of the Forum's Advice Note on replacing ash.

1. Don't wait! Start promoting new trees and taking better care of other native trees now.

2. Encourage the right trees in the right places in the right ways, and give them the right aftercare.

3. Use the Devon 3/2/1/formula: 3 trees for loss of a large tree, 2 for a medium tree and 1 tree for a small tree.


Air quality impacts from domestic wood burning?

A review of the impacts of burning wood on human health carried out by Exeter University (commissioned by DCC) suggests that there is no evidence of significant harm to human health.  See a summary of key findings and read the full review.  If you use a wood-burning stove or open fire you can minimise the amount of fuel burned and smoke created by following the advice and videos from the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.


Monitoring bird behaviour on the Exe 

South East Devon Habitat Regulations Partnership will be undertaking monitoring of bird behaviour on the Exe Estuary for the next three years to understand the effects that people and activities have on this important wildlife habitat. Monitoring will also help measure the effect of Wildlife Refuges at Exmouth and Dawlish Warren and new Codes of Conduct for Estuary users.  Follow progress on Twitter or Facebook


Hidden Histories - arts and the environment

A major project from Beaford Arts, made possible by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and HLF, is unearthing new photos and stories from the vast archive collections of artists James Ravilious and Roger Deakins, through digitisation, oral history and community projects.  Visit the website for more information and see a list of community trail walks this summer.


Get involved in the 2018 Devon Bat Survey 

Find out about the bats on your doorstep by borrowing a detector from the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project. Everyone who takes part receives a report detailing the bats they recorded. The results will increase our knowledge of how bats are using the Devon landscape, and what can we can do to help them.  To select your square, visit the Devon Bat Survey website


Forest Chi - health and wellbeing

Forest Chi offer bespoke workshops for schools, colleges, community and informal groups and classes for individuals. For more information see


Empowering you to build with cob

Cob building experts and tutors Kate Edwards and Charlotte Eve moved to East Devon 12 months ago and are working with adults and schools across the county. Find out more about their inspiring and practical cob building workshops at

To find out more visit our website,, read our Prospectus and please get involved. Contact (LNP Manager) or theme leads (see website)