The Offwell Woodland and Wildlife Trust has been restoring a 50 acre Forestry Commission site in East Devon. This south
facing, steep sided wooded valley has now become the Woodland Education Centre. During the
fieldwork season a class or group visits everyday. Human beings have had a considerable
influence on the area (history).
When work began in 1986 the site was overun with a vast jungle of sterile rhododendron. In many places the rhododendron was over three times
the height of a person. As a result native plants and the animals which rely on them had
Now much of the woodland has been restored and supports woodland plants
and animals such as badgers, deer, woodpeckers. Work funded by BT and English Nature has
increased the habitat for dormice which are nationally endangered. A recently
cleared area of woodland has been surveyed and monitored and the Woodland
Restoration Project report is available.
An area of heathland is being restored and a very comphrehensive report is available which features surveys, before and after
pictures as well as statistical analysis. The Centre now has three ponds, a small
lake as well as wetlands and marsh. As a result it is a major amphibian and dragonfly
breeding site. Up to two thousand toads spawn in a good year as
well as significant numbers of frogs. Other species which breed
regularly include kingfishers. A report on the Wetland
Restoration Project can be found here.
The average annual rainfall in Offwell is 47",
with a range of 35" - 65". (These figures are based on data collected over 35
years by Mr & Mrs Hall of Offwell).