Nature in Sticklepath
A village rich in wildlife, typical of edge of Dartmoor, with woods, water, fields, hedgebanks and historic landscape.
Sticklepath is a small village parish on the north of Dartmoor within the boundary of the National Park. It gets above average rainfall and is generally cooler than much of the south west of England. It is the smallest parish by area in West Devon District with only 165 hectares, the parish and its surrounding areas include farmland (livestock and grass for silage), woodland, water (the river and leats) and moorland as well as burgage/allotment plots, gardens, public spaces such as the Quaker Burying ground and Finch Foundry, hedgebanks (often stone faced), grass verges and edge of village habitats. This variety of habitats brings a diverse and fascinating range of wildlife.
Evidence of Dartmoor granite is everywhere, although the parish itself is on the metamorphic aureole and the rocks are sedimentary of the Devonian and Carboniferous periods, containing copper and other minerals rather than the tin which is generally associated with the granite. The name of the village is well known to geologists as the Sticklepath fault cuts through the area, and creates a number of valleys (including Belstone cleave) as it runs NW/SE through Devon between Bideford and Torbay.
There are remnants of the medieval field system in the burgage plots behind the village, and of mining and woodland management in the woods.
70 species of bird have been recorded in and around the village. There are also several hundred species of plants (both wild and garden varieties), a variety of animals, fishes and lots of insects (more than 25 butterflies and dragonflies). While many are widespread and familiar, others are Dartmoor specialists. Lists of some species are attached, but particularly the plants and fungi lists are incomplete. We will add more from time to time and please let me (email : Valerie.firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you have other records (a location would be helpful).
If the weather is reasonable, look out for:
Spring and Summer
Birds – house martin (pictured top), swallow, swift, chiffchaff – all summer visitors breeding in and around the village
Plants and flowers – red campion (pictured above) and greater stitchwort in the hedgerows, bluebells and ramsons in the woodland and opposite leaved golden saxifrage (pictured right) on streamsides in the woods.
On walls look for the navelwort.
Butterflies and Dragonflies – Orange tip and other white butterflies, especially the speckled wood in woodland and along hedgerows, and the fast moving golden ring dragonfly are worth looking for.
Autumn and Winter
Birds – some resident populations are augmented by winter visitors – mistle thrush (picture), starling, chaffinch, blackbird. Buzzards may be heard and seen at all times of the year; the tawny owl can be heard calling during hours of dark during winter and early spring.
Seeds, nuts and berries are an excellent food source for birds and small mammals, including bramble, ivy, holly, sloes and hawthorn, hazel, oak and beech as well as rowans, pyracantha and cotoneaster in gardens.
To see a complete list of wildlife that can be found in the Sticklepath area, please click here.