Category Archives: Natural Brentor

Conservation work for Brentor Commons

The Tavistock Taskforce put in two solid days work on Bowden and Liddaton Down for the Brentor Commons Association.
On Bowden Common they have virtually opened up the full length of the ancient drovers route, once the main route from the north towards Tavistock before the roads went in.  We call it the ‘hollow way’ as it was eroded by hundreds of years of use by packhorses etc.  It is a lovely walk with fantastic views over towards Dartmoor.  There will be more work along here in coming months, such as hedge laying and coppicing of hazel to let more light in.
The Taskforce spent a very messy and muddy day removing and reducing invasive willow from the quarry pond on Liddaton Down.  The pond is a much-neglected feature that had been used in the past as an illegal dump and place for the dreaded fly tippers to dump rubbish over the years.  Incredibly it is home to a wide variety of invertebrates and molluscs, including our very rare mud snail.  In spring it is covered in a mass of frog spawn, deer go there to graze and drink and now hopefully more birds will come in to the open water.  Again more work will be done in the coming months to make the access easier and hopefully we will make some ‘rustic’ benches from the felled willow.
The work has been carried out by the Tavistock Taskforce who undertake restoration, renovation and environmental projects.  They have a wide range of volunteers including people with additional needs who are gaining work experience and qualifications.  I cannot express how amazed I was at their commitment , energy and positivity while working in pretty difficult conditions.
All of this work has been made possible by the amazing amount of money, £5501, that we have received from the Co-Op Good Causes Fund.  It’s great to recycle the money we have received back into another local organisation.
Will Walker-Smith

Brentor Commons update – September 2018

After a few rather quiet walks around the common over the past month or so, it was a pleasure to see and hear a return to a much more active habitat.  On parking my car I was greeted with a mixed flock of long tailed, blue and great tits being very mobile and calling continuously to each other.  There may well have been other birds with them but they quickly moved away.  On walking across to see the new heather planting I disturbed first one then another snipe. The second of these birds flew directly away, not zigzagging, and with no rasping “schaarp”.  This may have been a Jack Snipe, a close but smaller relative of the common snipe.
As I moved further along the common, a party of ten or so meadow pipits were moving from the telephone wires to the ground and back, a typical feeding behaviour for meadow pipits.  As I watched them a great spotted woodpecker flew up and across the common clearly showing its white wing bar and undulating flight.
Along the bridle path I came across a stinkhorn fungi pushing up through the leaf litter.  My attention was drawn to it by the swarm of flies that were clearly were aware of its reputed smell of rotting flesh.  I did not try to smell it.
There are still a good crop of sloes on the blackthorn and another bonanza of the glorious summer are the sweet chestnut fruit to be found on the ground under the trees at the end of the track to Burcombe farm.  The trees are not that mature so it is good to see them producing fruit already.  They are not very big, but large enough to roast.
Finally, as I returned to my car, I saw a couple of butterflies taking advantage of the late afternoon sunshine.  Poppy had enjoyed her exercise and I felt well rewarded with an interesting and busy perspective of our common.

Barry Albrighton

Click here to see earlier monthly Commons updates by Barry Albrighton