Following on from the established DPA project at Common Wood, near Horndon, where conservation work has been carried out for the Two Moors Threatened Butterfly Project, Jenny Placket who is the Project Officer for the Butterfly project had identified further sites on Roborough Common which have ideal environmental conditions for endangered High Brown and Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterflies.
One of the sites, a south facing slope at Buckator above the River Tavy, just west of Double Waters, was becoming overgrown with birch, oak, alder and buckthorn saplings as well as bramble threatening to re-wood the area and reduce the butterfly environment, this is an area which is managed by Roborough Commoners who were in agreement with the work being carried out.
DPA conservation group were asked to help clear the area and create access paths to encourage stock to graze the slope. The first conservation work day of 2015 was held on Thursday 5th June.
The previous 2 or 3 days had been rather wet and windy, but on the appointed day the sun shone and 20 volunteers met up at the west Roborough car park near Buckland Monochorum .
Having walked downhill to the site, Jenny outlined the project and required tasks which involved clearing old bracken and saplings from around favoured caterpillar feeding areas, removing invasive saplings and also reducing tree overhang on the south edge of the site.
Work progressed at a good pace, but the steepness of the south facing bracken covered slope and increasing heat soon started to slow down the initial volunteer energy. Regular breaks were needed, with cake of course, supplied by the DPA conservation cake team.
There were several sightings of various butterfly types during the day as well as other wildlife species.
After nearly a full day on ‘the slope’ we decided to call it a day, the walk back up to the cars was particularly difficult as we had less volunteers by then to carry all the kit, than first thing in the morning.
Thanks to all those volunteering for the project – Adam Sparkes, Barbara Swinfen, Chris Francis, David Auty, Derek Collins, Elaine Viant, Hilary Luce, John Viant (attending on his birthday although the relevant years were not disclosed), John Watson, Keith Ryan, Mally Stephen, Peter Butcher, Rachel Watson, Roger Swinfen, Stephen Barrow, Sylvia Hamilton and Val Barns. Adam also brought along 2 of his work colleagues, Alex Evens and David Balbi, who helped bring down the average age of the work party by quite a few years! There is some possibility of similar employment volunteer days assisting DPA which would be a great benefit to projects such as Roborough Common.