Visitors get closer to nature at Heddon Valley Bioblitz in Devon

Visitors get closer to nature at Heddon Valley Bioblitz in North Devon The National Trust team in North Devon have teamed up with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for a 24-hour BioBlitz at Heddon Valley on the west Exmoor coast. National Trust wildlife experts and the wider public worked together over this period to find as many species of plants, animals and fungi as they could, to create a snapshot of the variety of life found in Heddon Valley. In addition to bee, butterfly, river fly and insect identification and surveying, more than 100 visitors took part in activities such as family arts and crafts, moth trapping, ranger-led walks through the valley and a night walk with bat detectors.

Maia Rhoads, National Trust ranger said: "It was great to see so many people here for the Bioblitz. As well as being a great way to share and develop their enthusiasm for nature, the records collected during a BioBlitz form part of a genuine scientific survey of the area. We hope to make this an annual event going forward."

Maia continues: "We complete annual bee, butterfly and plant surveys at Heddon Valley which help us keep track of the populations in the area. These surveys help inform our plans for how we can protect and restore a healthy habitat for nature as we tackle the combined national challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss."

Rob Joules, general manager for the National Trust in North Devon, said: "Since the 1920s, the wildlife that depends on woodlands and ancient trees has gone into catastrophic decline. Our work to look after the high-quality woodland at Heddon Valley provides opportunities for wildlife and space for veteran trees. Our survey data have shown increased numbers of species such as Britain's most endangered butterfly, the high brown fritillary."

The BioBlitz is just one of many ways the National Trust team in North Devon are looking to share their work, enthusiasm and expertise with visitors. The team are running their first ever Wild Camp at Heddon Valley in September which will offer young people the chance to learn from the National Trust's wildlife and countryside experts as part of the government's Kickstart scheme. In the October half term the team are running a free festival at Lorna Doone Valley featuring a pumpkin trail, autumn crafts, woodworking and river dipping.

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