National Trust Devon Rangers visit Lower Ash Moor

I am the General Manager link for the senior Devon Rangers group and yesterday we met at Lower Ash Farm near Rose Ash in the Culm Measures in North Devon for a meeting. We spent the morning indoors discussing various matters of common interest and sharing best practice. In the afternoon we were treated to a visit to Lower Ash Moor and shown around by the farmer there Cyril Cole. Cyril is a brilliant farmer who not only runs a commercial livestock farm but he also looks after 40 acres of fantastic Culm grassland. Culm grasslands are wet peaty places rich in a huge variety of wild flowers and animals. Culm grasslands have declined dramatically over the last 50 years or so having been drained and ploughed up.

Cyril has looked after his and clearly loves the place. I don’t think I have ever met a farmer before who was so knowledgable about wildlife. A real pleasure to be in the company of such a man.

Lower Ash Moor 1
Cyril Cole in Lower Ash Moor with bog asphodel at his feet

Lower Ash Moor 4Devil’s bit scabious – still flowering with the Moor behind

Sericomya silentisThe hoverfly Sericomya silentis – a classic species of the Culm measures

Lower Ash Moor 5Marsh ragwort – a speciality of Culm grassland

Longwinged coneheadThe grassland also contained a colony of long winged coneheads

Lower Ash Moor 6
The Devon Rangers on the farm – by Cyril’s feet is a cage which protects a colony of Greater Butterfly Orchid

Species rich hay has been cut from Lower Ash Moor and taken to Knightshayes and spread on areas there to encourage a much more species rich area of grassland.

A great visit with a great character and conservationist.

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