Bringing farming and conservation together

East Soar farm has been through a number of changes to improve how the land is managed, with excellent results that benefit both the working farm and the natural habitats along the Bolt Head to Bolt Tail coastline.

A herd of cows at East Soar

Finding the balance at East Soar 

East Soar is an ancient farming settlement, managed to keep the coast productive, but also useful and in a sensitive way.

Highland cattle grazing on the cliffs in South Devon.

Highland cattle on Cathole cliffs 

Have you ever wondered about the furry cows who spend their colder months on Cathole cliffs? They're an important part of our conservation work, and a delight to encounter on a coastal walk.

The Hornet Robberfly is the largest fly in Britain

Hornet Robberfly rediscovered

The efforts to improve the land in East Soar have truly paid off, as the Hornet Robberfly was discovered on the site in 2015 by Devon Fly Group. None had been recorded there since 2000, and they depend on a healthy population of invertebrates to survive, including grasshoppers, beetles, wasps and flies. Their return is a testament to the work being put in by our tenants and ranger teams.

A common hawker dragonfly patrols its territory

Restoring ponds

After years of neglect, three ponds that make up some of the very few standing fresh water sites at East Soar had become silted up. Over the course of three years, the ponds have been cleared and reclaimed to allow pondlife to return and thrive once more. Now featuring a pond dipping platform for education purposes, the ponds have grown populations of frog and toad spawn, caddisfly larvae, and birds like swallows and house martins feeding over the area. Ten species of dragonfly and damselfly have been recorded, and Sedge Warblers have been using the reeds to breed.