WORK: Over the past thirty years the Society
has carried out a good deal of conservation work.
|| In 1982, a mile-long
Nature Trail was created at Treborough Woods and
maintained until 1998 when the area was closed to
the general public. The Trail is still used by children
who visit Treborough Camp Site and ENHS also monitor
a number of nest boxes here. Our picture shows the
official opening by the Bishop of Bath and Wells.
||From 1987 to 1994 ENHS did work at
Minehead Warren to create a wildflower walk on a
piece of waste ground leased to Minehead Town Council
by Butlins Holiday Camp. Unfortunately, this had
to be discontinued when the lease ran out and renewal
was refused. The picture shows initial work in progress.
||On several occasions we have acted
to move plants threatened by road widening or forestry
work e.g. hundreds of primroses were transplanted
at Fair Cross on the Brendons, and primroses (pictured),
moschatel and Early Purple Orchids moved back from
edge of path to be widened in Tivington Woods.
||Regular surveys of birds and flowers
keep our records up to date and these are consulted
by Planning Authorities via Somerset Environmental
Records Centre and Exmoor National Park Authority.
Yellowhammers, pictured, were surveyed in year 2000.
||On many occasions we have been asked
by Landowners, including the National Trust and
Exmoor National Park to carry out a specific survey.
We have done this at Ashton Brake, Glenthorne, Oare,
Culbone Woods, Horner Woods, and many small plots
At Woodcock Gardens on the lower slopes of Robin How,
Exmoor Natural History Society manages 7.85 acres (3.18
ha) of land as a nature reserve,by agreement with the
The woodland section has been tidied
up, a pleasant walk with a number of benches has been
created, there are nest boxes for birds and small mammals
and a former bracken covered area has been returned
to grassland with wild flowers. There are regular working
parties here and a record is kept of all the wildlife
seen. (Booklet available, see Publications
2. At LUCKBARROW
, West Luccombe our team cares for a collection of Sorbus
(Whitebeam) trees. This collection includes all the
rare British species. Regular working parties take place
Winter Maintenance of Whitebeam collection
NEST BOX SURVEYS (a) BIRDS
ENHS Members set out on annual check of bird nest boxes.
Note: The chairman carries the ladder.
Since 1976 the Exmoor Natural History Society has maintained
and monitored a number of nest boxes by arrangement
with the landowners in various Exmoor locations as under:
|HORNER WOODS COMPLEX
||CLOUTSHAM-HORNER: 1976 – 1990
– c15 boxes.
POOL BRIDGE: 1985 – 10 boxes. Currently 20
PRICKSLADE COMBE : 1990 – 11 boxes Currently
BOYS PATH: 1990 – 6 boxes. Still current.
STOKE COMBE: 1990 – 11 boxes. Still current.
|MALMSMEAD FIELD CENTRE
||Since 1978 up to 6 boxes currently
||1981 – 25 hole and 13 open front boxes.
Currently 20 (hole) boxes.
||1984 – 1990 – c18 boxes.
||1985 – 2002. 12 boxes.
|HAWKCOMBE WOODS, PORLOCK
||1987 30 boxes. Currently 24 boxes.
||1990 – 12 boxes. Gradually increased to
||2000 – 6 boxes.
check of bird nest boxes.
Most of the boxes are designed for
hole nesting birds and are placed in woodlands which
have been coppiced and are short of the nest-holes particularly
sought by Pied Flycatchers, which have to compete with
the many tits. To quote from member Jonathan White’s
book Exmoor Birds (1994) “Before 1970
there were less than 30 pairs but with the introduction
of nestboxes from the late 1970s onwards numbers have
greatly increased. In 1990 148 boxes were up - 38 were
successfully used by Pied Flycatchers.” For this
reason, the Pied Flycatcher was chosen for the Society’s
logo. There are also a few (seldom used) open fronted
boxes, and one or two special boxes for owl, treecreeper,
etc. The boxes are checked every autumn and the results
Birds which have nested in our boxes are PIED FLYCATCHERS,
NUTHATCHES, BLUE TITS, GREAT TITS, COAL TITS, WILLOW
TIT (once), MARSH TIT (once), REDSTART, SPOTTED FLYCATCHER,
Other creatures sometimes find the boxes useful and
we have found the following inhabitants: DORMOUSE, FIELD
MOUSE, BAT, BEES, WASPS, HORNETS.
|Our licenced dormouse
handler weighs a dormouse to check on its progress.
We also have 50 dormice boxes, some of which are used
by breeding dormice. These are monitored by members
who have trained and obtained a Licence from English
Nature. This is necessary as Dormice are a protected
species. The results are fed into the National Dormouse
We have tried a few bat boxes, so far without success.
(Our only bat so far turned up in a bird box!).