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To support all of us to observe, learn, defend, restore and collaborate on behalf of biodiversity in and around Ashburton – for healthy air, water, soil, food resilience....  life!


 Become a River Monitor


Volunteers are assigned a spot along the river Ashburn or one of the tributaries to the Dart or Teign. Free training  shows how to test and report river health. Volunteers spend time at their site observing, as well as using a test kit to measure aspects of water health. By returning to the same spot each month, volunteers forge a relationship and knowledge of their own spot on the river through the seasons.

In Dec 2020 some15 volunteers had trained to conduct monitoring on most of the tributaries in the Dart Catchment. Over 30 sites are being tested and monitored monthly for signs of pollution, soil erosion, wildlife presence (or absence) and observation of invasive species. In 2021 we will have a clear record of local water health that can be passed on to the WRT.


Contact Anna

Watch a video of  Simon Browning of WRT’s talk for ACE

Wild Side about caring for Westcountry Rivers.    


At Druid Wood just above Ashburton, you could plant trees, learn woodland management or forest gardening skills. To volunteer at Druid Wood, explore or offer new sites for tree planting: Contact Pam MacDonald: 07973 412 681 or


Watch videos of Pam’s talk on Druid Wood, Rachel Harries’ talk about Citizen Science including making an inventory of ancient trees and a series of further  

films about Druid wood  by Jemma Cholawo.  

Trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere, help prevent soil erosion and flooding and offer potential for medicines and edibles (eg, fruit, nuts) to increase our food diversity and resilience.

The Old Skills New Ways Project is also running hands-on skills workshops with school children and teachers. In the Spring, a project to map food-producing trees in the community is planned.


Woodlands, Trees and Forest Gardens  - help plant more trees


Meadows, wildflowers and pollinators

Pollinating insects are vital for local food supplies and ecology, but an estimated 97% of wildflower rich meadows in the UK have been destroyed since the 1930s. These diverse and beautiful parts of our cultural heritage can not only provide herb rich grazing and hay, but food for insects, birds and a variety of life.

Dartmoor community initiative Moor Meadows offers a fantastic resource for people interested in conserving, restoring and creating wildflower meadows on any scale.

Learn more:  Watch video of Clare Dursley’s talk about the importance of plant biodiversity for bees and check out Moor Meadows site and community:

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Wildlife - get to know and protect local wildlife.



Get to know who lives near you and make your own patch more wildlife friendly – and connect with the wildlife friendly spaces of neighbours.

Watch  a video of John Walters, ecologist and artist,

talk on the Secret Wildlife of the Dart Valley.


Get more involved by representing Ashburton in the Teignbridge Wildlife Warden Scheme (Lucy Lepchani: ) or volunteering with local wildlife charities.

Building love, relationship and knowledge.


There is much experience and knowledge in our community about the life around us – about lichens, fungi, plants, forest gardens, animals and habitats. In February 2020, the ACE Wild Side hosted an evening of  seven short talks,  including one by  Lucy Lepchani who shared her love of lichens.

Watch a video of  a talk by Lucy  on the video page.


Could you help organise more talks or walks ? Contact Lucy Lepchani:


Or join the Wild Side FB page to share your own observations, projects or questions.

Gardens and community spaces

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From window boxes and back gardens to larger community spaces, there is something we can all do.


For example work in the churchyard at St Andrews, where volunteers are restoring memorials and encouraging biodiversity with wild areas and wildflowers. Contact  Geoff Histed if you would like to be involved at


Watch a video of  Audry Ryder’s ACE Wild Side talk

about her own experience transforming a field into a permaculture garden and wildlife habitat.

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