DARTMOOR’S fascinating range of birds was the subject of a fun activity day for young members of our Ranger Ralph Club.

Thirty-three enthusiastic youngsters got crafty and made eco-friendly nesting stations and feeders before going off to explore the Haytor area on a treasure hunt with a focus on one of the moor’s most loved feathered visitor.

The event was one of many which are held throughout the year as part of the popular Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Ranger Ralph Club.

The club is open to all children between the ages of five to 12 years and is ideal for young nature enthusiasts who get to learn more about the National Park’s amazing landscape, wildlife and cultural heritage.

With spring just around the corner, and February marking National Nestbox Week, Dartmoor’s special birdlife was a great focus for the event led by Education Support Officer Mel Hooper, Ranger Pete Rich and Outreach and Events Officer Claire Partridge.

Club members made bird nesting stations from eggboxes and collected natural materials for birds to use to build their nests and made heart shaped bird feeders by threading Cheerios onto pipe cleaners.

The budding young rangers then explored parts of Haytor through a clue-led treasure hunt to help them identify the cuckoo, a migratory bird which is synonymous with spring and usually arrives on Dartmoor from April onwards. Club members rounded off their day with a hot chocolate and lots of marshmallows.

Education support officer Mel Hooper said: ‘We had a fantastic day with our Ranger Ralph Club members. It was a brilliant way to put the spotlight on Dartmoor’s special birds and encourage children to learn more about them.

‘Each child was able to take home their nesting stations and feeders to use in their own gardens.

‘We hope it’s given them a lot of fun while learning more about the National Park’s unique wildlife.’

The Ranger Ralph Club meets on a regular basis and each activity is safely led by a Dartmoor National Park Ranger. It doesn’t cost much to sign up - membership is a bargain at £12 per year from April - and includes a welcome pack, a regular newsletter with competitions and games, and free and fun activities throughout the year.