PhD. Conservationist-now a rural social scientist worrying about uplands, wildlife & hill-farmers

PhD from the Centre for Rural Policy Research at the University of Exeter. ‘Stakeholder attitudes to the narratives of the Dartmoor Commons: tradition & the search for consensus in a time of change

  • Formerly General Manager for the National Trust on Dartmoor (11 years)
  • Property Manager at Wicken Fen (7 years)
  • 15 years with the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants.
  • Creator of the ‘Big Idea’ for the Wildlife Trusts which later became the The Great Fen Project
  • Architect of the Wicken Fen Vision
  • NT lead on Fingle Woods – the NT / Woodland Trust landscape scale partnership on Dartmoor

BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences (Zoology and Ecology) University of Exeter
MSc in Conservation, University College London
MBA The Open University
PhD Centre for Rural Policy Research, University of Exeter

You can follow me on Twitter  @Dartmoor_AC
You can follow me on Mastodon @DartmoorAC@mastodonapp.uk
You can follow me on Project Mushroom @Dartmoor_AC@projectmushroom.social
You can follow me on Instragram @adriancolston
You can follow me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-adrian-colston-a541951a/

Believe that uplands matter …. and….   interested in upland matters

Racketball player, 10 Tors Team leader, moorland walker, lover of Dartmoor and nature fanatic. Also love the Isles of Scilly and worry about its future too ….

All the images on this blog unless otherwise stated are my copyright

25 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Adrian. My blog got nominated for a blogging award – not a very serious one, but fun anyway. I had to nominate some others in return, so I’ve included yours. Hope you don’t mind.

  2. Found wasp spider in my garden at Liverton today. Never seen one before in 60 years! Googled it and found your recent find at Parke on your blog. Have logged with Devon biodiversity records.

  3. Hi Adrian, Would be very interested to learn more about where the scaly crickets were found on Branscombe, I’m currently doing some work near the café with regard to the rock armour proposal; we didn’t find evidence of crickets in the location, I suspect due to the inappropriate habitat. Kind Regards. Steve

    • Steve – I found them 200m – 800m away from the cafe up towards Beer Head. The original colony was found near to the cafe near where the stream enters the sea but that habitat now looks unsuitable – shingle is too fine

      • Thanks Adrian, I did a survey to the immediate west of the café but the mixture of sediments there – underlain by a lot of coarse sandy muds – resulted in nothing but sandhoppers and the odd sea slater. Biggest problem I found with the pit falls was the interference by dogs who found the prospect of a take-away pasty too tempting!

  4. your comments and suggested solution about access to woods in the Teign Valley is of great interest to many of us living locally who regularly walk these enchanting woods. I’m not convinced money is the root cause of the problem, public stupidity is more likely. The landowner is fed up with litter, dog mess etc. and is no longer willing to put up with it on his doorstep/land. Another case of a small minority creating problems for the majority. Another possible alternative route is an improved path on the southside of the B3212 from the car park to the road entrance of the NT loop walking route, towards the top of the hill. ie bypassing the private land….but it is much steeper and will not be to everyone’s taste/ability

  5. Dear Adrian,
    I am an arachnologist affiliated with the University of Basel, Switzerland. In collaboration with an ecologist from Lund University, Sweden, I most recently completed a scientific study proving that spiders must have an enormous negative impact on insect populations. Our study will be published in the journal ‘Science of Nature’ (Springer Publishers). The University of Basel intends issuing a press release sometime during the next 2-4 weeks. I urgently need a few photos depicting spiders with insect prey. It is our intention to show these photos on the ‘University of Basel Homepage’. At the same time we wish to offer the photos for free to those journalists (from all over the world) who will report on this press release.
    I wish to ask you if you give permission to use two photos posted on your website https://adriancolston.wordpress.com/tag/argiope-bruennichi/. Of course we would give you full credit for being the photographer who took these photos. Furthermore, journalists would be advised that they are only permitted to use the photos if they give you credit for this and if they accept that you will keep the copyright for these photos.
    I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you!
    Kind regards,

    Dr. Martin Nyffeler
    Senior Lecturer in Zoology
    University of Basel

  6. Hi Adrian,

    Beautiful photos! I would love to get in touch with you about using one of your pictures (specifically Castle Drogo) for use in a TV programme I am assisting on.

    If you would like to discuss further, you can email me at jacquelinewallace [at] curvemedia [dot] com

    Many thanks and I hope to hear from you soon!

    Jacqueline Wallace

  7. Hi Adrian,
    Thanks for your info. Using your photos I have identified the Violet ground beetle that we saw today on our walk to Yes Tor from Meldon reservoir. Thanks again!

  8. Hi Adrian,

    I’m new to the blogging world, but I found your image “Gorse Spider Mite” a beautiful depiction of gossamer and wanted to use it in my personal blog. Your copyright information page says everything is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. If I understand it correctly, I can use the photo with proper attribution to you (of course). Is that right? You can visit my blog and tell me if I’ve done it right. If not, please let me know and I will change it or take it down.

    Thanks and hope to hear from you!

  9. Hi Adrian, we are consultants working on a site in Guernsey with scaly cricket (and we pitfalled and caught and spotted some in mid-October). As part of that we are going to do a survey across suitable beaches on the island (it has been recorded at a number of beaches) in April, but are heading to Branscombe tomorrow (weather willing) just to see if we can see anything. We are interested in their behaviour, habitat type, and other biological and physiological information. Key thing is understanding what causes their population decline (obviously impacts on habitat, but the nature and sensitivity of them is a gap for us). Anyway, we will let you know if we see any!

      • Adrian, many thanks, we will look at that. We have been in touch with Karim and no doubt will be some more. looks like our trip tomorrow has been de-prioritised (my ecologist is off to the New Forest instead), so the visit to Branscombe might be delayed a week (unless I feel I have enough of a grasp of what they look like and do my own trip either before then or on the weekend. Next week we will definitely have been there. Noted the location you identified (as you said in an earlier blog, closer to the Beer Head end)..

  10. Hello, given your knowledge about heather beetle I wondered what your thoughts were about the amount of brown gorse that is around this year. I noticed it earlier in the year in many locations and assumed it would regrow but yesterday in Postbridge area it seemed just as bad as ever.

    • I have noticed this in a number of places on the moor, and attribute it to some very cold nasty Nor-easterly winds we had in late April, when plants were budding with new growth and then scorched. I’ve seen detrimental effects on a number of other garden plants at 400 foot in the Dart valley where I live, also up at Widecombe with complete losses of some species.

  11. There are lots of theories in circulation at the moment around ‘brown gorse’ in the uplands and the lowlands. The dominant theory at present is that the gorse got frosted in the spring ….. we will see.

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