1. Birds are brilliant!

This was the theme for our first family activity day for 2019. Despite a rather cold and windy day, some 133 children supported by 102 parents had a varied and ‘hands on’ action packed day.  The activities on offer ranged from following a Bird Trail, in two forms – simple for pre-school children and more advanced version for the older children – making a model bird from wood, construction of a bird mobile, making a bird feeder and an edible bird house, finishing off with the opportunity to prepare a mug of hot chocolate over an open fire.

The popularity stakes at the end of the day were won by making a wooden bird and edible bird house, closely followed by hot chocolate brewing! “Really fantastic activities to suit all ages” and “Thanks for making our half term” were just a couple of the comments made as people left at the end of the day.”

2. New Arboretum Trail

What is a ‘Toe Biter’ or a ‘Yaffle’? Can you get warts from touching a Toad? Discover the answers to these questions at Burrator Arboretum.  We have recently updated the markers and there is a new trail for spring. You can collect a trail sheet from the Discovery Centre and also a picture quiz for younger explorers. See the map here.

3. Work giving new trees some TLC is complete 

The start of March marked the last day of work in the plantation, finished off with some dead hedging. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project since December, helping to find the young trees amongst the willow, removing and chipping the larch, and leaving willow bundles for wildlife habitats.

4. New Lopwell Noticeboards

Over February, our Monday and Tuesday volunteer teams, spear headed by Graham, have created and installed two new noticeboards at Lopwell Dam to display the tide times, made from our own Burrator wood.

5. Tree planting is underway

Following on from the large scale removal of conifers from around the inner reservoir as part of our forestry plan, the planting of 4,950 broadleaf trees is now underway. These will provide invaluable habitats and corridors for wildlife. In addition, there will be a new plantation of Douglas Fir in the new fenced area by Peek Hill plantation.

6. Getting ready for fishing

On Friday 22 February, Sam was joined by members of the Burrator Fly Fishing Association to help clear the fishing swims in preparation for the fishing season opening on Saturday 9 March. In return, they were treated to some local pasties for lunch!

Event Dates for the Diary

Evening Talks:

Thursday 21 March 2019 – 7.30pm-8.30pm – “Have you ever wondered how the height of a dam is decided and why the overflow spillway is a certain size?” An introduction to dams and reservoirs and some hydrological aspects of their design” by Les Hamill. £4 per person (inc. refreshments). Please book your place in advance.

Tuesday 30 April 2019 – 7.30pm-8.30pm – ‘Dartmoor is renowned for its beautiful and diverse lichens with names such as tree lungwort and string-of-sausages. Come and discover the weird and wonderful biology of lichens and learn how to identify some of those common in Dartmoor’s woodlands.’ by Alison Smith, Lead Community Scientist, Plantlife. £4 per person (inc. refreshments). Please book your place in advance.

Wednesday 22 May 2019 – 7.30pm-8.30pm – ‘Why ponds are wonderful havens for wildlife’ by Paul Martin, Education Officer, Devon Wildlife Trust.  £4 per person (inc. refreshments).  Please book your place in advance.

Family Events:

Monthly Family Wildlife Watch Programme: 10.30am-12.30pm
Come and take part in a range of wildlife and heritage themed activities followed by hot chocolate and biscuits. We will meet at the Burrator Discovery Centre, unless alternative meeting point has been advertised. £3 per child, £2 per adult (please bring cash as we don’t have online payment facilities). Please wear outdoor clothing and footwear. No booking needed.

  • Sunday 31 March
  • Sunday 28 April
  • Sunday 19 May

School Holiday Family Activity Days:  ‘Drop in’ between 10am-3pm
Each activity day will involve a themed nature trail, woodwork, environmental art and outdoor cooking in and around the Burrator Discovery Centre. £3 per child, £2 per adult. Please wear outdoor clothing and footwear. No booking needed.

  • Thursday 11 April
  • Tuesday 28 May

For more information or to book your place on any of the above events, please call 01822 855700, e-mail: [email protected]  or pop into the Discovery Centre (PL20 6PE)

Practical Volunteering Days:

For all the days we meet at the Discovery Centre. Please wear old clothes and sturdy footwear, bring lunch and a drink and dress ready for ‘all the seasons in a day!’

  • Monday 4 March – 10am-3pm
  • Sunday 10 March – 10.30am-3.30pm
  • Tuesday 12 March – 10am-3pm
  • Monday 18 March – 10am-3pm
  • Friday 29 March – 10am-3pm
  • Tuesday 2 April – 10am-3pm
  • Monday 8 April – 10am-3pm
  • Sunday 14 April – 10.30am-3.30pm
  • Tuesday 16 April – 10am-3pm
  • Friday 26 April – 10am-3pm
  • Tuesday 7 May – 10am-3pm
  • Sunday 12 May – 10.30am-3.30pm
  • Monday 13 May – 10am-3pm
  • Monday 20 May – 10am-3pm
  • Friday 31 May – 10am-3pm

Discovery Centre Opening Times:  10.00am – 4.00pm

Weekdays: Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

  • March: Sat 2, Sun 10, Sat 16, Sun 24, Sun 31
  • April: Sat 6, Sun 14, Sat 20, Sun 28
  • May: Sat 4, Sun 12, Sun 19, Sun 26