Southern Damselfly habitat restoration in Pebblebed Heathlands
The East Devon Pebblebed Heaths support some of the last populations of Southern Damselfly in England. Volunteer Lesley Kerry has been monitoring these damselflies, and their habitat, in this lowland heath for many years, including a population on Colaton Raleigh Common. In the 1990s, the damselflies here bred in a shallow stream fed by a broken pipe some distance away. However, the source of this water was lost in the early 2000s when the leak was mended and the damselflies were forced to survive by breeding in nearby runnels. Since then, the runnels have been maintained through cutting and light grazing, but the population has declined to the point of extinction. After advocating for this rare species for many years, Lesley and her fellow volunteers were able to get the leak in the pipe reinstated earlier this year with the help of the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust. Time will now tell whether the Southern Damselflies return to their old home.
Image by James West