Dartmoor Preservation Association
Friends of Dartmoor
James Paxman stepped down as CEO of the DPA on 30 June 2014, and has been succeeded as Director by Phil Hutt.
James was presented with a hand crafted shepherd's crook made from a Dartmoor ram's horn and a hazel stick at the AGM on 24 May. The crook has a silver collar, inscribed "JP with gratitude from the DPA 2014". About 20 DPA regulars met in the Prince of Wales pub at Princetown on 30 June to mark James' last day. DPA President, Colin Turner, recalled that James had worked for the DPA for eight years, including six as CEO. In that time, thanks to his personality and dedication, the DPA had been transformed. James's legacy was an internally united and happy organisation, exemplified by the conservation volunteers, and externally the DPA's reputation with all the various stakeholders was at a high level.
We understand that James and Jackie do not intend to move from Dartmoor, and we hope that they will continue to contribute to local causes in one guise or another.
Phil Hutt is our new Director working 3 days a week from the office in Princetown. He has an MBA and a law degree, and worked at senior level in the aerospace and defence industries including Normalair-Garrett Ltd, Smiths Industries and GE Aviation. Since retiring from full time work Phil has been on the board of Devon and Cornwall Housing Association, and Project Manager for the Colyton Parish History Society, responsible for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant application. Working with the Trustees, Phil will bring new perspectives and ideas to the DPA to maintain the momentum of the last few years.
DPA volunteers started work on this project on 19th Nov 2012 in bad weather, there were no photographs and no report on the DPA blog! The project is butterfly conservation at Common Wood, “near Horndon”.
This is an isolated woodland with scrub extending up the valley sides of the River Tavy and it is here, under favourable conditions, that the declining Pearl-bordered Fritillary can breed.
Volunteers returned to survey the site on two occasions recently (June 2014), on the first visit they counted nine Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries in the allotted hour, and, on the second visit they recorded a staggering twenty-two. It is possible that some were repeat sightings but this indicates a substantial underlying population.
Walkers to Piles Copse will be faced with a significantly longer journey when the public car park at New Waste closes next month.
Since 1991 the National Park Authority has maintained an Access Agreement with the landowner in this area to provide car parking for a small number of vehicles. The Agreement is due to end in June and unfortunately, the new owners of the land have indicated that they do not wish to renew the contract.
Our scheme to provide boots for youngsters on the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme is up and er... walking !
The DPA has provided a £600 fund to buy boots for students at Westlands School who would otherwise have found it very difficult to fund this purchase. The eight students are now training on Dartmoor to complete their expeditions later this year.
The scheme is the pilot phase of a larger project for which we hope to attract further funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund. If successful, next year we will be able to enlarge the scheme and include other schools and organisations.