The volunteers of the DPA Conservation Team returned to Common Wood, near Hordon,  on Friday 11th September 2015, for a fifth day of work. This is on the north-west edge of Dartmoor. The work was led by Jenny Plackett, from Butterfly Conservation.

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Coffee break.

The south-facing site is rather steep, covered in bracken and gorse with some blackthorn, as favoured by certain butterflies – the area is being managed primarily for the Pearl-bordered Fritillary which is recorded here. The Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary is also rare but doing quite well on this site. The Speckled Wood was seen in numbers during the day and also seen here are the Common Blue and Holly Blue as well as other common species.

A quote from Jenny:

“The DPA have worked really hard to restore the habitat for our rare fritillary butterflies, and it is very satisfying seeing the site come back into suitable condition to support breeding populations. Hopefully we’ll enjoy the rewards of the clearance work over the next few years, as the number of butterflies increases – but in any case the habitat is now in much better condition for other wildlife (and it’s much more accessible for people to enjoy as well!).”

With Jenny: the DPA volunteers, who had excellent opportunity to practice their climbing skills, were: Derek Collins, Elaine Viant, Hilary Marshall, John Lucas, John Viant, Keith Ryan, Stephen Barrow, Sylvia Hamilton and Val Barns. Also working hard was Kate Ashbrook, whose land it is. Kate also has a blog and today’s efforts are written up HERE.

Photographs from the day follow below, with a few further notes …..

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Typical area where the gorse has been largely removed.

The objective is to remove a lot of the old gorse and to form paths criss-crossing the site where violets can thrive – these are favoured nectar plants for the butterflies.

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Possibly sawwort (Serratula tinctoria) .

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Common (European) gorse flower, Ulex europaeus.

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A “flag”.

One way to mark where your tools are is to hoist a flag, in this case a yellow safety vest!

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Betony (Stachys officinalis).

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Kate, making a path.

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Blackberry – the bramble fruit.

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Elaine, hiding in the bracken.

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Possible Wild mignonette (Reseda lutea).

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Sawn gorse stump.

As best I can tell, after enlarging the gorse stump photograph on the computer, there are probably 15 or 16 annual growth rings.

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Derek, doing a little pruning ……..

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Jenny, Sylvia, John and Derek hard at work.

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John L, Hilary, Stephen, Jenny, John V, Derek and Kate still labouring away.

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Hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum).

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Hemp agrimony, a slightly closer view.