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Projects and places

Some Exeter wildlife sites and projects

This is not a definitive list. If you know of or are involved with other wildlife projects in Exeter which could be included here, please let us know.

Exeter City Council Valley Parks and nature reserves
Large areas of open space, managed for public access and nature conservation, generally comprising grassland and woodland. These are at 
Barley Valley (Alphington & Whitestone)
Duryard/Belvidere Meadows
Ludwell Valley
Whitycombe Way, Exwick
For more information, see Exeter CC website
Ludwell Life is a local community group concerned with sharing, enhancing, enjoying and protecting Ludwell Valley Park

The Valley Parks, and the Alphington flood relief channel, are linked by a continuous 12 mile walk, the Exeter Green Circle
Exeter City Council organises regular countryside events at its Valley Parks.
Ludwell Valley Park    (c) E. Stallworthy

Exeter City Council also jointly manages with the Forestry Commission Stoke Woods, a large SSSI ancient woodland on the northern edge of the city

Local wildlife charity nature reserves
Devon Wildlife Trust has two reserves in Exeter, The Old Sludge Beds and the adjoining Exe Reeds Beds, both on the southern edge of the city. The Old Sludge Beds is a mix of reedbed and wet woodland with a circular path. Exe Reed Beds lie within the course of the River Exe and are not publicly accessible.
Old Sludge Beds
Exe Reed Beds

RSPB also has two wetland bird reserves near Exeter, Bowling Green Marsh at Topsham, and Exminster & Powderham Marshes. Bowling Green Marsh has a popular bird hide overlooking the Marsh and Exe Estuary (there is no public access on to the reserve itself). At Exminster & Powderham Marshes there is a seasonal circular trail (some muddy sections at certain times of year; not suitable for wheelchairs).
Bowling Green Marsh
Exminster & Powderham Marshes

Each of these reserves forms part of the larger Exe Estuary Ramsar, SPA, and SSSI internationally designated wildlife site.

Exeter Wild City project
A partnership between Devon Wildlife Trust, Exeter City Council and others, encompassing a variety of initiatives especially with local schools and in local parks. These include mapping habitat corridors, wildflower planting in many city parks and green spaces, and setting up swift boxes at schools  

One of the Wildlife Trusts' 'Living Landscapes' projects; more information, with 360 degree panorama from the Cathedral, at: 
Bull Meadow wildflower planting area    (c) E. Stallworthy

There are wildflower areas in Rougemont park, Heavitree park, St Thomas pleasure ground, Bull Meadow park, Belmont park and Catacombs park.

Peregrine falcons in Exeter - St Michael's and All Angels church, St David's
Exeter was among the first urban areas to be colonised by Peregrine falcons, which have nested on St Michael's church in St David's for over 15 years. Nick Dixon has been studying their nesting, breeding, feeding and territorial behaviour throughout this time. The peregrines are routinely monitored, studied and photographed by the Exeter Peregrine Falcon group 
Nick's webpage
Nick and Ed Drewitt's paper on what the peregrines have been eating
Nick and Andrew Gibbs' paper on peregrines attacking buzzards
Live nest cams at

Devon Bat Group: Exeter section
a local sub-group of Devon Bat Group, which carries out bat projects in and around Exeter, including visits to city sites for bat activity surveys, batbox monitoring, and winter roost recording in Exeter and East Budleigh, plus the city-wide Exeter Big Bat Survey. 
Inside the Catacombs, a city centre winter roost site for lesser horseshoe bats     (c) G. Slack

Events and meetings are generally organised through the group’s Facebook page and Google group web forum.
Exeter City Bats Facebook page
Exeter Big Bat Survey

Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM)
Collections and displays of birds, mammals, botany and geology.

Sylvania Environment and Community Project
Local residents in Pennsylvania have taken over responsibility for unadopted, unmanaged green spaces around a past housing development. A range of practical maintenance and biodiversity enhancement activities are carried out, and there are also local events. 

University of Exeter Distance Learning courses and public lectures
The University runs a number of wildlife related online learning courses, on topics such as bird life, mammal ecology and conservation, fossils and palaeontology, habitat management and conservation, and others, generally starting in September - October

There are also occasional public lectures - check the University of Exeter website for latest news.