Pressures on land use since the second world war has meant many changes to the fauna and flora of Great Britain. Taken together with the past policy for afforrestation, mainly with non-indigenous conifers, then affects on many species has been profound. In Devon, we are lucky to have preserved so much natural and ancient woodlands, where typical species of the Southwest abound. However, drainage of our wetland areas actively encouraged by grant assisted schemes, has undoubtedly diminished both our flora and fauna to an unacceptable level. Much could be done to restore these areas, where agricultural activities may not now be viable. Hopefully, greater awareness of our heritage and government grant aided schemes can together restore some of our habitats in the future.

Although agriculture has had adverse affects on our wildlife, there are areas where common agricultural practices in the Southwest is helping to preserve some species. Hedgerows and their upkeep are a feature of our region, together with the Devon Bank they act as mini Oasis's and highways linking various fragmented woodlands. Witnessing our hedgerows in the colours of spring, gives testament to how they serve to enhance all our enjoyment of the countryside. There can also be little doubt, that the proliferation of game shooting in Devon, has helped preserve many fine woodlands and covers.

Whilst not a comprehensive guide to all species of the area, this account gives an insight to the wildlife of Witheridge and the surrounding parishes. I hope it will assist and inspire greater appreciation, together with a desire to fill-in the missing species to the lists contained herein.

Peter S D Jones

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Last Edited 09/02/2010    Copyright © 2000-2010 Witheridge

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