LNP updates - new Chair sought, woodland webinars and more

Local Nature Partnership

August 2020 

Natural Devon (Devon Local Nature Partnership) is a collaboration of all those working to tackle the Ecological Emergency and develop a healthy nature recovery network across Devon for wildlife, communities and business.  Please see our website for more information.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

We intend to start sending out shorter newsletters every other month. To submit an article please email katy.ross@devon.gov.uk (50 words + a pic).  The October newsletter will include updates on the Devon Nature Recovery Network, Devon Climate Plan and Environment Bill as well as updates on delivery projects across the county..  

New Devon LNP Chair sought

After two years Dr James Szymankiewicz is stepping down as Chair of the LNP due to Covid-19 workload. We are therefore looking for a new Chair who has the knowledge, capacity and influence to strengthen the LNP, raise its profile and help us take forward our three priorities:

- Tackling the Ecological Emergency and delivering a Nature Recovery Network for Devon.
- Climate Emergency: ensuring nature-based solutions are delivered as part of the Devon Climate Declaration.
- Connecting communities and business with nature.

For more information please see our website.  To discuss, please contact Sarah.Jennings@devon.gov.uk.  Closing date for submissions of interest is 30th September.

Upcoming Events

Blue Carbon webinar - September

Devon Maritime Forum, in collaboration with the LNP, will be holding a free 'Blue Carbon' webinar ' in early September (date to be confirmed). Visit the DMF website to find out more and to replay previous webinars from this summer.

Oak seedling

Trees for Devon webinars - September & October

The Woodland Trust is heading up the LNP's new Trees for Devon initiative and has worked with Devon Wildlife Trust, The Forestry Commission and the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum to organise a trio of free tree webinars: Expanding Devon's Woodlands, Ash dieback and Ancient Woodland Restoration. The first webinar is Tues 8th Sep, 1-2pm, and responds to the welcome surge of interest in tree planting by discussing the issues that need considering.  Register for free via the Woodland Trust website.  Videos of the webinars will be placed on the LNP website. 

Man against a starry sky

Devon Dark Skies Week - 23rd - 30th October

Following the enthusiasm for our 2019 Dark Skies Day we are organising a Devon Dark Skies Week in October half term (starting with an evening webinar on Friday 23rd).  The week aims to raise awareness of the  impacts of lighting on wildlife and people and promote simple actions that we can all take to reduce light pollution.  Details will be added to our website soon.  If you would like to offer a webinar or event please contact katy.ross@devon.gov.uk.

Matt Austin Wellbeing Exeter

Devon Naturally Healthy Month - October

Due to Covid-19 our annual May Naturally Healthy Month has been moved to October. Being able to get outside and connect with nature has been critically important to many of us over the last five months and has highlighted the huge physical and mental health benefits that this contact provides. Our October Naturally Healthy Month will therefore encourage everyone to continue to engage with the natural world around them. Follow our social media to keep up to date with the events or look on our website. If you are planning Naturally Healthy activities during October or would like to find out more about how you can help with our Naturally Healthy Initiative please contact tom.mack@activedevon.org or kirstie.pritchard@devon.gov.uk.  Photo Matt Austin, Wellbeing Exeter 

nat cap

Investing in Natural Capital in the Heart of the SW

Investing in Natural Capital for the Heart of the South West is a joint advocacy document produced by Devon, Somerset and Plymouth LNP partners with the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). It explains what natural capital is and why it is critical to the social and economic wellbeing of the region. The report includes case studies and sets out headline key actions required to protect and restore our critical natural capital assets.  The launch of the document had to be put on hold due to C-19 but the LEP has set up a small Natural Capital group with the LNPs to discuss how to take this agenda forwards.  If you would like to add case studies to the LNP website please email sarah.jennings@devon.gov.uk.

audrey pic

Environmental Land Management (ELM) - tests and trials

The proposed new ELM system began its test and trial period in 2019 with pilots planned to run to 2021. There are 10 phase one ELM tests and trials (T&T) taking place in Devon.  Results are expected in June 2021, although many have been impacted by C-19 and may be delayed.  We hosted an online meeting for the Devon ELM T&T leads and Defra in March 2020.  A summary of each T&T, contact details and presentations from the meeting can be found on our website.   

Special Species Devon logo

Devon Special Species Updated

The Devon Special Species information on our webpages has been reviewed by experts and updated.  This information is being used by the five Devon AONBs to help develop their Nature Recovery Plans.  South Devon AONB is leading a funding bid to help our South Devon coastal special species. Please take a look at the information and send any further updates or questions to katy.ross@devon.gov.uk.  Huge thanks to Rob Wolton for leading this update for us.  

Updates from across the county


A beaver celebrating on the River Otter! 

In early August the Government announced that the River Otter beavers can stay.  Well done to Devon Wildlife Trust and all others involved for all the hard work - great news.  

Photo:  Chris Townend, Wise Birding

Devon Climate Emergency Logo

Devon Climate Emergency

The consultation of the Interim Devon Carbon Plan has been delayed due to Covid-19. However, the Devon Climate Emergency Partnership is still working hard to reduce emissions and create a net-zero Devon. See their website for more information.

The LNP has commissioned the West Country Rivers Trust to produce a report highlighting the impacts of climate change on Devon's natural environment and natural solution to net-zero. The report is being finalised and information fed into the Devon Carbon Plan. The report will be shared in our next newsletter.  

Group of people from the Soils Alliance

Soils Alliance

The Devon and Cornwall Soils Alliance aims to build capacity and capability in soils advice. More than 40% of our soils are degraded and there is insufficient advice and capacity in the region to deal with the problem. The project will train 40 advisors, 10 soil mentors and conduct remediation work and feasibility reports. Learn more about the project.

Devon Hedge Awards

For 2020 the Devon Hedge Group is offering awards for new hedges, whether they be on farms, in gardens or anywhere else.  Please visit the Devon Hedge Group website for details help to promote the award and think about who you could nominate!  Photo: New hedge at Wonnacott farm, Rosie Yells

Recently Planted Hedge

Broad-Fruited Cornsalad

Back from the Brink  - look out for wood ant nests & rare arable plants 

The Back from the Brink project is working to save England's most threatened species from extinction.  Colour in the Margins focuses on rare arable plants.  In 2020 the South Devon project has reintroduced Small-flowered Catchfly and Broad-fruited Cornsalad. To find out more and get involved please look at the Back from the Brink website.Photo: broad-fruited cornsalad © Cath Shellswell

If you go down to the woods today, or moors or heaths, please keep a look out for wood ant nests. Buglife’sNest Quest’ is seeking records as part of the Back from the Brink Devon narrow-headed ant project (narrow-headed ants are only found at one site in Devon....).  Photo: Formica rufa wood ant nest

Wood ant nest

goat's beard sj pic

Devon twitter plant community

The Devon Botany Group is keen to increase interest in Devon's wildflowers and get us all out plant hunting.  To help with this they are encouraging us to share pictures of Devon plants on twitter using #wildflowerdevon.  Please get involved to help make this work and get more people involved in plant conservation.  

Moor mires for waders

The South West Peatland Partnership continued to deliver peatland restoration from August 2019 to March 2020. On Dartmoor alone this amounted to around 200 hectares across four sites. The habitat restoration has been particularly successful on the deep peat areas. This summer has seen a direct correlation between mire restoration and successful breeding waders. 

Restored Peatland

Polytunnel Skeleton

Community Tree Nursery

The Saving Devon’s Treescapes project has begun construction of a community tree nursery at Meeth Nature Reserve with volunteer recruitment and seed collection starting in August.  Find out more about Devon's treescapes. 

Photo: Polytunnel skeleton soon to be filled with trees

Mapping Ancient Woodland

Devon Biodiversity Records Centre is leading a county wide partnership to update the Ancient Woodland Inventory for Devon. This will significantly improve our knowledge of existing ancient woodland within the county, and will enhance the protection afforded to this irreplaceable habitat, and the species that rely on it. Learn more about the process of mapping ancient woodland.

Ancient Woodland map

Exmoor invasive non-native species project logo

Tackling Invasive Species on Exmoor

The Exmoor Non-Native Invasive Species (ENNIS) Project is helping to control the spread of invasive non-native species on Exmoor through trialling innovative approaches and working with local communities and volunteers to tackle species such as Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam, montbretia, American skunk cabbage and American signal crayfish. If you would like to get involved or find out more about the project visit the project website

To find out more about invasives in Devon see the Devon Invasive Species Initiative pages on the LNP website.

View from Yanndon

Burrator Biodiversity Project

A new two year project managed by South West Lakes Trust started in April to identify and assess the condition of habitats and species across the Burrator Catchment on Dartmoor.  The project will involve working with local stakeholders and groups to explore opportunities for improving biodiversity, water quality and resilience to climate change. For more information visit their website.

South West Water - Upstream Thinking, net gain, trees and eels

Upstream Thinking  includes new schemes in Devon’s Roadford and Wistlandpound reservoir catchments, whilst the schemes in the Dart, Exe, Otter, Fernworthy and Tamar catchments continue. Farm advisers from partner organisations are helping farmers with farm and water nutrient planning and grant applications. 

Upstream thinking 3
Newly Planted Hedgerow

SWW's Biodiversity Strategy is well underway with lots of mapping and exciting wildlife opportunities identified.  The company strategy is also being framed to ensure delivery of Biodiversity Net Gain. Tree planting and peatland restoration opportunities are being identified as well as ways to reduce the impact and occurrence of pollution in ecologically sensitive areas.  Working with partners, SWW has promised to plant at least 100,000 trees over the next 10 years.  43,800 trees have been planted in the first year.

SWW has installed three eel passes over obstacles at Swincombe (River Dart), Lopwell (River Tavy) and Loxhore Ponds (River Yeo) in Devon.   The current population of the European Eel is estimated to be less than 5% of what it was 25 years ago. 

Eel pass

Field Studies Council Logo

A Place to Stay

The Field Studies Council is opening its doors to allow visitors an overnight stay while they're exploring the outdoors. Locations are available across the UK allowing families and individuals to have great fun whilst in nature. For more information visit the website.

Specially brewed beer

Finally - Brewing & Blending to mark 25 years of the Tamar Valley AONB 

An ale and gin liqueur have been produced in celebration of the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s (AONB’s) silver anniversary. August marks 25 years since the Tamar Valley’s AONB designation, a national level of protection, to help conserve and enhance natural beauty. Ale of Outstanding Natural Beauty (from Bere Brewery) and Tamara (a blackberry & elderflower gin liqueur from Monarch Liqueurs) are available here.  Photo: The specially crafted Ale, Lucy Jones