Thursday, 25 October 2012

Flag up: The Mires Project

Something caught our eye on our last walk between Sandy Hole Pass and Lade Hill.  Small flags fluttering in the breeze, on the slopes beneath Statts House.

This is the Dartmoor Mires Project in action again.  Part of the same National Park Authority/Environment Agency/Exeter University collaboration reported previously at Flat Tor Pool.  This area of Winneys Down is now covered in unnaturally shaped ponds and these little boundary flags.  The marks on the moor are obvious.  The digger tracks on Winneys Down are still visible more than a year after the work was completed.

This attempt at re-wetting Dartmoor slopes has been described by the Dartmoor Society, and Dr Tom Greeves as interfering with pristine landscape, the expenditure of thousands of pounds unnecessarily  and the subsequent hazard to humans and wildlife.  The Environment Agency highlights the benefits of peat bog creation: namely providing a carbon sink, improving water quality and increased biodiversity.

Two 'Youtube' videos exist, with both sides of the argument explained.  I'd love to hear some opinions.

The case FOR: c/o Dartmoor National Park Authority

And then AGAINST: The Dartmoor Society

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Just checking!

Today, WITC followed in our footsteps in order to check our Rangale of deer series. Sited in April, the set has been on the moor during one of the wettest Summers on record, and we were conscious how many of the main stamps (if not the books) were not double-potted, risking damage if any moisture got in. Conditions under foot were ‘spongy’, and we were forced to walk upstream to Kit Rocks in order to cross the East Dart.
We walked our series in reverse, in the hope of gathering information of the previous boxes through visitor book comments.  We were aware of at least one box in trouble, and were keen to check that they were all on site, and dry.  Today’s forecast of sunshine was the only motivation we needed to get out there.  Firing in Okehampton Military Range would not affect us.
The Rangale clues have been visible, and accessible via this blog, and we were curious about who had visited the stamps also.  Numbers varied between individual boxes, but we have had approximately 25 letterboxers complete the set, and that is pleasing.
Unfortunately, Broad Marsh and Lade Hill boxes were water damaged.  In both cases we removed them from the moor.  Our original blog post has been amended accordingly.  We will probably now take the entire set off the moor in early 2013.  I guess we have learnt lessons in stamp manufacturing, and box construction.  To their credit, the actual rubber Tanda Stamps have remained in one piece, so they are a ‘recommend’.  Find them at
All the other boxes and stamps are in reasonable or good condition, which delights us.  We hope to site our Christmas walk in the next 4-6 weeks.   
More details to follow!

Overall, including a diversion to Braddon Tor and Kit Rocks, 13.4 miles walked, and 9 other boxes found.