Wild East Devon December news

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Wild East Devon news - East Devon District Council

Seaton Wetlands reindeer trail

reindeer trail

Father Christmas’ reindeers are now hiding around Seaton Wetlands nature reserve. Why not come down for a walk and see if you can spot them all!

Welcome aboard Amelia!


The Countryside Team welcomed its newest recruit, Amelia Davies, into the role of Engagement and Participation Officer this month taking over the reins from Will Jones who left earlier in the year. Amelia joins the team from the South East Devon Habitat Regulations Partnership and will be a familiar face to many of you who have visited the Exe Estuary or Pebblebed Heaths over the last four years.

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Dozy Dormice

sleeping dormouse

As the gales blow and rain and hail hammer down on our roofs, spare a thought for wildlife hunkering down to get through the winter. For adaptable mammals with the ability to adjust their diets to find food in the lean gap, winter means less activity and lots of sleeping. However, for mammals whose sole food resource disappears in the winter, they are forced to sleep for the entire period and enter a state known as torpor.

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Make a reindeer decoration from pine cones

Pine cone reindeer

Clearing reedmace at Seaton Wetlands

pond clearance at Seaton Wetlands

One of the annual tasks at the wetlands is the removal of reedmace from the ponds in front of the Discovery Hut hide.

This can only be done in the autumn/winter because of disturbance to nesting birds.  Reedmace is a very rapidly growing and spreading plant, and left unchecked would soon completely take over.  By late spring the amount of open water will be greatly reduced, but for a few months at least, there is a better prospect of seeing a greater range of birds including jack snipe.

Works at Whitecross

View from Whitecross

White Cross Picnic Site is located on East Hill, between Sidmouth and Ottery St Mary, and has spectacular views over Ottery, the Blackdown Hills, mid-Devon and beyond! It is owned by Devon County Council, but managed on their behalf by our Countryside Team due to its’ proximity to our other sites, and the experience we have in managing mixed landscapes for the benefit of both people and wildlife alike. In the past year especially, a fair amount of work has been undertaken there to improve both habitats and visitor experience:

  • Circular walking route reinstated. We have cut back a very overgrown old track, to reinstate an old walking route through the woods on the hillside. Signage with a map is due to be installed in 2022, but for now to access the route just follow the blue-topped wooden posts – the first of these is located at the start of a track near the car park entrance (on the right as you enter). The route is less than 1 mile long, but follows some uneven ground and is steep in places. Wellies or walking boots are recommended for winter walks!
  • Heathland recovery project. East Hill is covered in remnant patches of lowland heath, an important yet highly threatened habitat. Work has been done in the past at East Hill to rescue and recover bits of this heathland, and as results have been positive we have up-scaled our ambitions. Bracken removal by machine to remove the stubborn rhizomes from underground (under the necessary and watchful eye of archaeologists) was the first step.

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