Report on the core area from January 19th to April 19th 2009


of the core area report Jan 19th to April 19th 2009

NB The 3 year education warden contract finished on March 31st. It has not been renewed.
However, the demand for the services provided under the contract continue with requests for walks, advice and tasks. Volunteers are keen to resume tasks should they again be supported.


2 groups totalling 61 people were shown parts of the Burrows.


4 illustrated talks given to local organisations

Interpretive Displays

The Burrows display boards were erected and manned at 3 events plus 2 weeks in Barnstaple library where much interest was generated.


Organised Biosphere Volunteers Conservation tasks have taken place on over 14 occasions plus regular litter removal including dog faeces, monitoring, survey & habitat management on the site contributing 86 volunteer work days to the benefit of the site.

Research & Monitoring

Water table readings & rainfall were recorded monthly, 2 newt counts & 2 rabbit counts were completed. 


The dog problems continue and a keen volunteer collects and disposes of bagged dog mess.

J M Breeds

Report on the core area from January 19th to April 19th 2009

NB The 3 year education warden contract finished on March 31st. It has not been renewed. 
However, the demand for educational, advisory and volunteer activities within the core of the Biosphere Reserve continues and, as an established contact I continue to receive requests for walks, information, advice & tasks. 

Educational Visits

Jan 25th Barnstaple Holy Trinity Church group of 23 taken on a Saunton dune walk.
Mar 23rd West Down Primary School 28 children and 10 adults taken on a 1hr walk through Saunton dunes 


Illustrated talks on Braunton Burrows were given to the following organisations:-

Jan 28th Westward Ho! Friendship Club, 37 members. 
Jan 30th South Molton Parish Church Friends Group, 28 attended.
Feb 5th Westward Ho! Ladies Club, 90 members.
April 1st Chawleigh W. I., 45 members. 

Interpretive Displays

The Braunton Burrows display boards were erected at the following events:-
Feb 20th Roundswell at a British Naturalists talk by Johny Kingdon where c180 people attended.
Mar 1st to 14th Barnstaple library foyer.
March 26th Braunton Parish Hall public meeting
April 18th Ilfracombe Landmarc Theatre with interactive beach material for the ‘Go Wild in the Garden’ day
All these events attracted much interest in the Burrows and helped foster good public relations.


For details contact Christie Estates.

Biosphere Volunteers Conservation Tasks 
14 scrub bashing tasks were organised with up to 7 volunteers present on some of the weekend tasks, these contributed c56 volunteer work days to the management of the site. Four of the tasks were alongside the American Road clearing scrub in preparation for the new fence, 10 were in Twayblade Slack clearing around the scrapes that support a new population of water germander Teucrium scordium. In addition 2 tasks were organised at Swanpool SSSI. 
Two keen new volunteers, both with chain saw qualifications & insurance have used their own equipment to excellent effect especially in Twayblade Slack . 
Other volunteers continued clearing litter and contributed at least 26 work days to the total of 86 during this period
N.B. All the volunteers are keen to continue should tasks be supported on the Burrows and again be organised. 


Jan 20th Fremington MOD/Landmarc Partnership.
Feb 17th Biosphere Environmental Quality Group Hallsannery re Habitat Action Plans.
Feb 18th Braunton Countryside Centre Trustees.
Feb 27th Burrows -Training Area south with Landmarc & MOD re fence line.
Mar 17th Fremington MOD/Landmarc Partnership.
Mar 18th Braunton Countryside CentreTrustees.
Mar 26th Braunton Countryside Centre, Martin Hirschnitz studying climate adaptation 
followed by a site visit to the dunes.
Mar 26th Braunton Parish Hall –a public meeting held to update people about new developments.
Mar 30th Barnstaple Devon Wildlife Trust local group committee.

Sandy Lane car park

The car park was open and in use by the public throughout this period and remained a popular free car park. The Police dealt with one overnight rave when c100 vehicles arrived.

Research & monitoring

Water tables
Water table readings and rainfall taken monthly, assisted by 2 volunteers

Dates readings taken between which change occurred No of sites Water level 
min changes
Jan 1st – Feb 1st 17 rose +6 +48 +16.7
Feb 1st – Mar 1st 5 fell -4 -12 -6.4
“ “ 12 rose +2 +23 +9.75
Mar 1st – Mar 31st 5 fell -2 -8 -4
“ “ 8 rose +2 +15 +6.75

Rabbit Counts Two rabbit counts were completed assisted by 4 volunteers, 2 counts were aborted part way through due to sudden hailstorms.
Training Area Jan 26th – 343, count difficult in some areas of unmanaged rank vegetation where rabbits readily conceal themselves.
Grazing Trial area Jan 16th -184. 
There was no significant change in numbers on the counts

The monitoring and survey activities enjoyed by many volunteers (4 volunteer work days) have been severely constrained by the 33% reduction in funding and affected by consistently poor weather. 


April 2nd ‘I’ Lane Pond - a torchlight crested newt count totalled 66.


The problems of pollution and disturbance by dogs continue with no sign of resolution. Regular attempts were made by a dedicated and disabled volunteer who clears large quantities of litter, especially dog mess from around the Broadsands & Sandy Lane car parks and neighbouring dunes. However, his valiant efforts cannot keep up with the rate at which people deposit litter & leave their dog mess. 
J M Breeds 20.4.09