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Devon Rewilding Network Guided Walk

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

On Friday 23rd June, just over three years since buying the site, Nick Benge led a guided walk around the two rewilding fields in Roborough. The walk was organised by the Devon Rewilding Network, and we were pleased to welcome more than 10 members of the network, alongside a similar number of local village residents.

It was a lovely warm day, but fortunately not quite as warm as in the previous few days! Nick began by giving a background to the project, and gave participants a handout which included photographs of the Front Field taken in May 2020. It was a far cry from the vision that greeted everyone as they listened to him. He explained the timeline of the project, and his thinking behind the general landscaping work undertaken by his team from Water Gems and his various interventions since.

Nick proceeded to lead the group through the main Laneside scrape area, which is currently full of Yellow Rattle, sown in late 2021, to Corner Pond which has virtually dried up in the recent heatwave. He explained the value of ponds that dry, and the diversity of habitat they offer alongside ponds that remain full of water, or only partially dry out. He emphasised the need for a patchwork of habitats like this, and sited the lack of these in our country as a whole, as one of the reasons behind species decline.

From Corner Pond, the group moved to the bottom of Middle Meadow, where a recent brash pile had been created. This is another of Nick's initiatives to offer a diverse landscape, albeit on a small scale, within just a 10 acre site. We then looked at two of the larger ponds that were dug and established in January 21, one in the Front Field, and the other just inside the gate of the Back Field. Both had good numbers of dragonfly and damselfly species on the wing, a reflection of the 15 species recorded to date.

The guided walk finished at the top of the Back Field, with a brief glimpse for some members as a Grass Snake beat a hasty retreat from under one of the corrugated refugia tins. Before, questions were welcomed as everyone enjoyed a view over Back Field afforded by the raised ground around Top Pond. A vote of thanks was given by Simon Roper, from Ambios Ltd, Devon.

Participants were then able to explore the two fields at their leisure, or to ask further questions. There was a general buzz of enthusiasm from everybody, and clearly a desire to learn, do and see more about rewilding. So, if you were unable to attend this walk, or would like to see how things change over the next month, a further Guided Walk is scheduled for July 21st at 14:30.

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