Wray Valley July Newsletter: Flags, No Mow May, Moths & More

Dear Reader

Welcome to the July edition of the Wray Valley newsletter. It’s been a couple of months since our last newsletter as we’ve been rushed off our feet. So in this issue we’ll tell you all about what we’ve been doing and what we have planned for the summer.

Finally, the sun came out for a few hot days last week, that’s a bit less than the rest of the country we understand. Now it’s back to normal with sunshine and light showers for the rest of this week. It must be because the tennis at Wimbledon has started!

So go and grab a cuppa and immerse yourself in the world of Wray Valley for a while.

Happy reading!


Moretonhampstead Flag Festival – Flying High

We’re thrilled to see our flag, finally flying high as part of the Moretonhampstead Flag Festival, joining the other businesses and residents in this uplifting community event. Did you know that the flag was designed and made by Michelle from recycled tent material so it seems very fitting to have it flying on the entrance to the campsite. Watch the story of her making, from the initial design to finding a tall thin tree long enough to be the flagpole. So if you leave your old, broken or leaky tent with us you may see it recycled into a colourful flag in the future. By the way, we particularly want more brightly coloured ones!


A Day off to Explore

We recently took a well-deserved day off, and embarked on a picturesque circular walk. Passing through the Sentry in Moretonhampstead, over Butterdon Down past the standing stone and down into the Teign Valey where we stopped for a relaxing pint at the Fingle Bridge Inn. After that we strolled along the beautiful River Teign to the Mill End Hotel for a delightful champagne afternoon tea.

Follow in our footsteps or create your own adventure with the help of public transport. We have lots of ideas for walks and other activities during your stay with us.


No Mow May – A Wild Success

Our lawn after NoMowMay - rich in bugle and cats ears

We are sure you already know that in our Hay Meadow we always let the grass grow between the pitches during the summer to develop as a wildflower meadow. We only mow the spaces for your tents and the paths. At the end of the season we then scythe the entire field and rake up the cuttings.

As in previous years we took part in for our lawns.

But did you know we also leave the lawn outside the house to grow during May and early June. Taking part in Plantlife’s “No Mow May” campaign. This year, the warm and wet May really encouraged everything to grow.

Did you know we’ve lost approximately 97% of flower-rich meadows since the 1930’s. Their disappearance removed the source of vital food needed by pollinators, like bees and butterflies.

But your lawn can help! A healthy lawn with some long grass and wildflowers benefits wildlife, tackles pollution and can even lock away carbon below ground.

Leaving your grass to grow a little longer can have huge benefits to your environment and to wildlife. Even grass mown every four weeks will provide plants for pollinators. Less mowing encourages lots of wildflowers to grow in your lawn. This is beneficial to pollinating insects such as hoverflies, bees and butterflies.


Progress on the Sustainability Activity Trail

Elly Cody

The trail is coming along nicely thanks to the hard work of Elly, our intern from Exeter University. She’s been diligently designing the interpretation boards that will guide visitors through the trail, and they’re shaping up beautifully.

In the woods, we’ve taken a significant step forward by installing four oak sleeper bridges over the ditches, providing easy access across these natural obstacles. We have worked hard to clear paths through fallen trees, overgrown brambles and bracken, creating a less challenging walking experience for our guests.

The results of our ecology habitat survey have been truly eye-opening, revealing a remarkable diversity of plant life within the Wray Valley area. If you’re curious about the findings, you can read the detailed report here and we will eventually load the observations to iNaturalist. By understanding the local ecosystem, we can make informed decisions about our land management and ensure that the unique natural beauty of Wray Valley is preserved for generations to come.

We can’t wait for the trail to be finished so you can experience it firsthand and discover the rich biodiversity that thrives here at Wray Valley.

Kevin standing on one of our newly installed sleeper bridges


Moth and Bat Surveys – Discovering Wray Valley’s Nocturnal Residents

Two of our B&B guests, Vicky and Dave, are keen naturalists and they asked to set up a moth-trap overnight on the patio in early May. Despite the cool weather they were overwhelmed by the number of moths they caught. Here are a few of them including a Poplar Moth, Great Prominent and a Muslin Moth. A total of 63 individual moths were trapped and 28 different species identified. They were all released at dusk the following evening.

We knew there were a lot because of the number of bats we recorded in the Devon Bat Survey last year. This year we are going to borrow the equipment and record the same places again as well as at the north end of Lower Moor Wood which is in the next map grid square.

The diversity of habitats here at Wray Valley is great for wildlife. Come and see for yourself, book your stay at www.wrayvalley.co.uk

Do you want to do your own surveys? Why not download the i-Naturalist app and record any observations you make. Once you’ve done that join the LookWild project and your observations can then be used by other organisations too to benefit wildlife. Lets try and make Wray Valley an observation hotspot!


Memorable Pizza Evenings and Campfire Storytelling

Our first pizza evening and combined pizza and campfire storytelling events were both a hit! Relive the magic of these experiences with us and join us for future gatherings. Why not book one of our pizza or campfire cookery experiences for your group.

Delicious Evening Meals and Drinks at Your Convenience

Our on-site evening meals are becoming a popular choice for guests seeking a relaxing night in or looking to break up their dining out routine. We make our hearty, home-cooked meals with locally sourced and home grown ingredients whenever we can, ensuring a taste of the region. As we are not a full service restaurant with a chef and waiting staff, we do ask that your group chooses the same meal option where dietary requirements permit. This will also help to minimise food waste and support our eco-friendly efforts.  Please place your orders at least a day in advance, to give us time to discuss your requirements with you, shop for ingredients and prepare your dishes. Don’t forget we only serve Devon made drinks on our bar menu and they go perfectly with our evening meals.

Devon Tourism Awards – Fingers Crossed!

Michelle & Kevin holding their Devon Tourism Awards 2023 for the B&B and Campsite.  Kevin is wearing a DJ and Michelle a blue flowery shift dress

We’ve submitted our entries for the Devon Tourism Awards. In the same three categories as last year when we were honoured with Bronze (B&B) and Silver (campsite) awards. But this year, we’re aiming for recognition in the sustainability category. This is hard as all hospitality venues, large and small, are pitted against each other in the same category. However, unlike a lot of awards you don’t vote for the winner, instead these awards are independently judged so we do stand a chance. But you can help influence the judges by writing rave reviews, posting lots of pictures about what you’ve been doing here, and engaging with us on social media. Don’t forget to tag us with @WrayValley.

Events this Month

  • Moreton Music Day – 7 July – 40 local bands and ensembles across 4 stages celebrating all genres of music in Moretonhampstead from midday to midnight a day of free music in support of Moretonhampstead Community Swimming Pool.
  • Bovey Tracey Carnival – starts 27 July ending with the parade the following Saturday


More dates for your diary

There’s something happening throughout the year so why not plan your stay around a local event.  Here’s a few of the regular fixtures to get you started….

Carnival float

Many, but not all, of the links below are on Facebook

Thanks for Reading

As always, thank you for your support and for choosing Wray Valley. We hope to see you soon, creating new memories and celebrating the beauty of Dartmoor together. As we wrap up this edition of our newsletter, we hope that you’ve found it an enjoyable read and encourage you to share it with friends who might also appreciate the insights and updates from Wray Valley.

Your support means the world to us, and we’d be truly grateful if you could take a moment to like and follow us on social media (@WrayValley) and subscribe to our YouTube Channel. By doing so, you’ll stay connected with our latest news, events, and developments, as well as help others discover the beauty and excitement of Wray Valley.

We wish you a wonderful time ahead, filled with unforgettable adventures, memorable experiences, and precious moments with loved ones. We look forward to sharing more stories and updates with you in the coming months and hopefully seeing you here. Until next time!

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