The fantastic world of ferns and lichens

This was the theme for our first family activity day for the summer holidays. In partnership with Rachel from Plantlife, families learnt how to identify ferns, the identifying features for three different types of lichens, and made beautiful sun prints with some of the fern leaves. In addition, children made wooden leaf mobiles, miniature gardens, and of course, cooked over the fire. We have three more themed family activity days running over August - please have a look in the diary section below for the dates.

Bird box installation

In July we installed 20 bird boxes in our beech plantation, to extend the existing nest box survey area, and replace some boxes that have been damaged over the years. When making the boxes earlier this year out of Burrator wood, we ensured we made different sized holes to cater for birds recorded in the original nest box survey: Blue and Coal tits (about 25 mm), Great tits and Pied Flycatchers (about 28 mm), and House Sparrows and Nuthatches (about 32 mm)!

Evening Talks

Last Tuesday evening, Nicola Norris (Invasive Species Officer for SWLT) gave an eye-opening talk on the history of invasive non-native species, how they have arrived in the UK, and highlighted certain ones that are currently affecting our waters and terrestrial environment. She also covered how to identify them and what to do to prevent their spreading. If you want to find out more, or report sightings, please e-mail Nicola on: [email protected]

Work experience placements

Thank you to Helena, Jessica and Connor, who joined us from Devonport High School for Girls and Torbridge High respectively, for their year 10 work experience placements. Tasks involved filling the kiln and sorting charcoal, burnishing the cob oven, clearing bracken, assisting with a school visit and helping with the Discovery Centre open day, plus much more.

Stylish steps

Over the last couple of weeks our Monday/Tuesday volunteer team and DNPA youth ranger team have completely replaced the old and broken steps, and created a brand new series of steps. Along with the new gate, this is all looking pretty smart! You can find them by crossing over the main dam and joining the inner footpath on your left, before you reach Sheepstor dam.

Employee Volunteering

Thank you to the EE Plymouth Team who came for two days in July to carry out large scale litter picks, in particular around the inner reservoir area, quarry car park and the cycle track. In addition, DWP team, who came last year, returned to help our midweek volunteer group start to clear the bracken around the young trees in our plantations - 6 out of 9 staff travelled down from Bristol for the day!

Event Dates for the Diary

School Holiday Family Activity Days:  ‘Drop In’ between: 10:00am-3:00pm

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 bring cash as we don’t have online payment facilities). Please wear outdoor clothing and footwear. No booking needed.

  • Tuesday 6 August
  • Wednesday 14 August
  • Thursday 22 August

For more information or to book your place on any of the above events, please call 01822 855700, email: [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 5 August – 10am-3pm
  • Sunday 11 August – 10.30am-3.30pm
  • Tuesday 13 August – 10am-3pm
  • Monday 19 August – 10am-3pm
  • Friday 30 August – 10am-3pm

Discovery Centre Opening Times:  10.00am - 4.00pm
Weekdays: Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Weekends:   August - Sat 3, Sun 11, Sat 17, Sun 25, Sat 31