Wildlife surveys carried out for the Woodland Trust and National Trust have revealed that Fingle Woods contains some of the richest diversity found in woodland in the South West of England.
The ecological surveys carried out thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) were undertaken to better understand the levels of biodiversity in the woods and inform the two charities’ ongoing management of the site.
“It is really pleasing to find so many species of wildlife in Fingle Woods and it’s a mouth watering prospect to think how many more will be there once the restoration is complete.” Adrian Colston (Dartmoor General Manager, National Trust)
The key findings of the surveys include:
- 36 breeding bird species, including several red-list (high conservation concern) species; Lesser-spotted woodpecker, Song thrush, Wood Warbler, Spotted flycatcher, Marsh tit, and Yellowhammer.
- Fingle Woods have significant value for butterflies, including English Biodiversity list species (formerly priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan) Dingy Skipper, Pearl-bordered fritillary and Wall.
- Invertebrates associated with decaying wood were particularly notable, including one nationally rare, one Red Data Book and ten nationally scarce beetles associated with rotting wood, wood mould or wood-rotting fungi.
- Dormice found in five locations.
- Nine species of bats were recorded in Fingle Woods, over half the species in the entire UK bat fauna, making Fingle Woods significantly important.
- The river supports two otter holts, and is also home to a number of pairs of Dipper, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail; the river is an important resource for wild fish, including Salmon, Sea-trout and Trout.
- “One of our key objectives is to maintain and increase the levels of wildlife at Fingle Woods through careful management. Not only can we provide a home for rare species but it also means visitors to the woods could see something out of the ordinary if they’re lucky!” David Rickwood (Site Manager Woodland Trust)