North Devon needs you!


North Devon National Trust is looking for volunteers at all of our sites. We need people from Hartland to Croyde, from Mortehoe to Heddon Valley and from Watersmeet to Countisbury. Our volunteers help with everything from wildlife surveys, events, office admin and making sure our members and visitors have had a great time.

You can find out more at our volunteering drop-in day on Thursday 30th April at Baggy Point, Croyde from 11am to 3pm. If you can’t make it then email or call Nicola Jackson on 01598 763306 nicola.jackson@nationaltrust.org.uk

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You could help at a Bucks Mills Cabin Open Day

One of the privileges of working at the National Trust is the astonishing range and enthusiasm of people who volunteer their time to help us achieve our goals. As a charity we depend very much on our volunteers, whether they can offer us a day a week or a week a month.

Wildlife surveys are an important part of our volunteer roles

Wildlife surveys are an important part of our volunteer roles

The specific roles we are looking for include:

Gardeners to look after the tea-garden at Watersmeet.
Teams to carry out environmental and wildlife surveys at Woolacombe/Mortehoe, Bideford Bay and Hartland and at West Exmoor based from Heddon Valley.
Admin support at Woolacombe and Brownsham, near Hartland.
Visitor Welcome Officers across North Devon including Baggy Point, Morte Point and Heddon Valley
Car Park volunteers at Baggy Point
Accessibility Champion responsible for the Tramper mobility scooter  – Heddon
Photo journalist across North Devon
We also have some administration roles that after training could be carried out in our office or from home including:
. Bringing order to our photo archive
. Helping with digital/social media admin

Chough Watch


The piercing cries of chough returned to the South West after a 28 year absence. The emblematic bird of Cornwall returned in 2002 to nest on the Lizard after changes in habitat management on the coast by the National Trust.

But the coast of North Devon is also prime chough habitat, with many secluded cliffs and caves providing potential nesting sites. National Trust North Devon is appealing to all walkers, birdwatchers, runners, kayakers, dog walkers, horseriders, farmers and sunset photo snappers to keep their eyes open and report any chough sightings to us.

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Pyrrhocorax – the fire crow.

Chough are the rarest member of the crow family in Britain. They have loud screeching “cheow” calls, and are very acrobatic, making the most of ledges and cliffs to launch themselves into the wind, often flying upside down and performing rolls and loops.

The Celtic coasts of Scotland, Wales and the South West provided the right habitat for them as they enjoy grazed cliffs and heathland. In past centuries, sheep, cattle and ponies would have grazed the cliffs year round, keeping vegetation short and providing perfect conditions for choughs to find a supply of insects, such as dung beetles and ants.

Chough often feed in fields with livestock.

Chough often feed in fields with livestock.

However changes to farming practices and persecution meant that by 1910, the chough had disappeared from all southern coastal counties with the exception of Cornwall. Their numbers declined steadily over the century and they vanished completely in the 1970s.

Chough held out in Pembrokeshire, and due to National Trust habitat management they have re-colonised the Gower peninsular which is just across the Bristol Channel from North Devon. We hope that those birds will venture south and start breeding territories here in Devon.

Chough may also re-colonise from the south, either from the re-established Cornish population or from further afield. A French chough, ringed in Bretton, Northern France decided Baggy Point was a great place for a holiday (isn’t it just), spending ten days here in March 2014. Interestingly this bird was the first confirmed sighting of a French ringed chough in Britain. More recently a chough was seen at Brownsham near Hartland on 6th April 2015.

We have big coastline to cover to find out if chough are moving to North Devon, which is why we need your help to spot them. April is a good time to spot nest building activities so keep your eyes open.

Please report any sightings to Jonathan Fairhurst, Woolacombe and Mortehoe Lead Ranger

jonathan.fairhurst@nationaltrust.org.uk 01271 870555

Baggy Point Pole Appeal – UPDATE


We have been blown away by the response so far to the Appeal. Our facebook post has been shared lots of times and has reached over 7,000 people. It underlines what we suspected: the Coastguard Pole really has touched the lives of so many visitors to Baggy Point and is a popular icon of North Devon.

The donations box has been installed at Baggy Point and we’ve put up a replica pole in the car park to raise awareness too. You can buy a raffle ticket and enter a draw to win £10,000.

But if you’re not able to visit Baggy but still want to show your support you can visit our JustGiving page here.

Baggy Point Sunset

Baggy Point as seen from Woolacombe Down as taken by National Trust Ranger Joshua Day. The walk from here to Baggy and round to Croyde is one of the best in North Devon.

Baggy Point Coastguard Pole Appeal


The white Coastguard Pole at Baggy Point has become an iconic part of the North Devon landscape. It’s wooden steps have been climbed by many a visitor and it has featured in thousands of photographs in all sorts of weathers since the 1930’s. But the weather and the salty coastal environment has finally taken its toll on the pole and it needs to be replaced. North Devon National Trust is launching an appeal to raise funds to preserve this fascinating piece of local heritage.

If you’ve ever walked to the pole and back from Croyde, had a picnic by it, taken a photo with it or even climbed it then please buy a raffle ticket from the Baggy Point car park team or enjoy another visit to the pole and make a donation.

Donations can now be made here https://www.justgiving.com/baggypointpole/

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The pole was installed by the Coastguard in the 1930’s as a training tool. Coastguard volunteers would fire their ropes towards the top of the pole, simulating firing ropes up towards a ship that had been grounded on the rocks. The photo below is of a similar pole on the Isle of Wight but shows the same training that would have taken place at Baggy Point.

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Once attached to the pole the ropes would be used to slide a “breaches buoy” over to the ship so that stranded mariners could be winched to safety. The photo below is again from the Isle of Wight but shows the same rescue training in effect.

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Although it looks like an old fashioned zip slide, this method of rescue saved many lives. With modern technology and navigation ships are less likely to wreck on the North Devon coast, but the Coastguard still responds to all sorts of incidents.

Please help us preserve this icon of local heritage by supporting our appeal and helping raise the £2600 we need to replace the pole with a replica.

The lowdown on Deer Ticks


juliangurney:

Volunteer Ranger Kate Jones tells us some facts about ticks in this very informative blog.

Originally posted on Wicked and wild, it's a nature blog:

If you go for a jaunt along one of the many beautiful wooded valleys in Exmoor on a warm day you may pick up a friend or two along the way. The term ‘friend’ is used lightly as it will end up being a one-sided relationship of all take and no give. So tuck your trousers in your socks and roll those sleeves down because we are of course talking about the delightful deer tick (Ixodes scapularis).

I love wildlife in all it's forms by Mark Robinson via Flickr I love wildlife in all it’s forms by Mark Robinson via Flickr

Now whatever you may think about these little critters you can’t deny that they are absolutely fascinating. They are an arachnid that feeds on the blood of mammals, birds and occasionally us. They definitely have a penchant for binge drinking as they only feed three times in their two year life cycle.

Picture credits clockwise from top left: Ixodes scapularis Say: M, F, N, L, eggs by AFPMB, Deer tick life stages by Animal Diversity Web, Soft tick by dr_relling, Ticks on finger by Fairfax County. All via Flickr Picture credits clockwise from top left: Ixodes scapularis…

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Beach games and blennies


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Seasonal Beach Ranger vacancies are here again.

Do you fancy looking after Woolacombe beach? Enjoy rummaging around in rockpools or playing volleyball? Love chatting to people and kids of all ages and helping them have fun in the sun? If you are vigorously nodding your head and saying ‘me, me’ then we may have the perfect job for you.

We are looking for three fun and proactive people to join us for July and August to look after a very busy Woolacombe beach and sand dune system. You will carry out a variety of practical and conservation work as well as running kids events on the beach and rockpool rambles. As well as enjoying our wonderful company of course, you can expect to come face to face with some great wildlife, learn something new and benefit from free entrance to our properties.

You can call us on 01271 870555 for an informal chat about the roles or to apply click here and enter IRC24343 or IRC24344 into the ‘keywords’ search box.

But hurry, the deadline for applications is 8 May so we look forward to hearing from you soon….

Rangers’ return


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People keep asking me if I miss my son now that I’m back at work after maternity leave. I’d like to say ‘yes’ but…😊