The Rhos pastures of Dartmoor

I visited some Rhos pasture meadows near Challacombe yesterday. Dartmoor National Park Authority describe Rhos pastures as follows:-

“Rhôs pastures are enclosed species-rich purple moor-grass and rush pastures. On Dartmoor they are found in valley systems away from the open moor, usually in a mosaic together with wet woodland, other species-rich grasslands and oakwood. Dartmoor has 1,200 hectares of this habitat, representing 20% of the English resource 

The most distinctive plants of this habitat on Dartmoor are the meadow thistle, devil’s-bit scabious, heath spotted orchid and saw-wort, all colourful plants. They grow in amongst either purple moor-grass or sharp-flowered rush and there may be some creeping willow present. Other plants that can be found include ivy-leaved bellflower, lesser spearwort, marsh thistle, sneezewort, greater bird’s foot trefoil and marsh violet .

Rhôs pasture is home to marbled white butterflies, which can be abundant, small pearl-bordered fritillary and the highly protected marsh fritillary which is found in colonies representing about 20% of the English resource. One of Britain’s rarest damselflies, the southern damselfly, also occurs in a single Rhôs pasture on Dartmoor. The rare narrow-bordered bee hawkmoth, which feeds on devil’s bit scabious can also be found, often in association with marsh fritillary.”

Marsh marigold
The pastures will be in their full glory in a few weeks but already plants such as marsh marigold are flowering

Large red damselflyLarge red damselfly was on the wing

Small Pearl bordered fritillarySmall pearl bordered fritillaries were feeding in the fields

sericomyia lapponica 2The hoverfly Sericomyia lappona was quite common

willow warblerWillow warblers were singing from the hedges

Common buzzardBuzzards were flying overhead

Green hairstreak 4And green hairstreaks were on the scrub and bracken

Glorious meadows, beautifully managed for their wildlife by the local farmers – I will be back later in June to have another look!

2 thoughts on “The Rhos pastures of Dartmoor

  1. Pingback: Marsh fritillaries on Dartmoor – A Dartmoor and Devon blog

  2. Pingback: Some different sheep at the magical Challacombe – A Dartmoor blog

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