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Britain's largest fly has been found in Devon

This is the first time in 15 years that the hornet robberfly has been found in the area. Credit: National Trust

An enormous predatory fly - the largest in the country - has been found at a National Trust farm in Devon.

The hornet robberfly is harmless to humans, but it's a "fearsome predator" of grasshoppers, and its larvae feed on the beetle grubs in cow dung.

Once common across southern England, its numbers have fallen dramatically due to losing its habitat - and this is the first time it has been seen on the East Soar farm near Bolt Head in 15 years.

Credit: National Trust

"We were both surprised and delighted to find this spectacular fly, Britain's largest, on National Trust land near Bolt Head."

– Rob Wolton, who discovered the fly

"A lot of work has been carried out by the Trust and our tenants over the last 4 years to improve the condition of the coastal area for the benefit of a wide range of wildlife. We are really pleased to see discoveries like the hornet robberfly which would not survive without the right grazing conditions."

– Emma Reece, National Trust Area Ranger

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Charging to visit Dartmoor: could it happen and would you pay?

There's been a warning that visitors could be charged to visit Dartmoor National Park if government spending cuts continue.

The national park's budget has been slashed by 40% during the past five years - and it has lost a quarter of its staff.

Chancellor George Osborne hasn't ruled out further cuts over the next four years.

I think it's the zero option, but everything has to be on the table at the moment. We have to see how much the public and government value their national parks.

These are the lungs of this country - we manage 10% of the UK landmass for less than 83p a year per person in the Uk. I think that's incredible value for money.

– Peter Harper, Dartmoor National Park

Wellington monument to be lit up in honour of Waterloo

The Wellington Monument can be seen from quite a distance in the daylight - tonight it will also be seen in the dark Credit: ITV News

New lights will be switched on tonight to illuminate the Wellington Monument in Somerset.

It's 200 years today since the Duke of Wellington won his most famous victory, defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.

The monument will be lit up at ten o'clock tonight to mark the bicentenary.

People have talked to us and said, wouldn't it be nice if you could light the monument again.

We thought this is the perfect opportunity, let's see what we can do and we've made it happen.

It is great news for the monument and it means that those lights will be there to mark other special occasions as well and hopefully raise the profile of the monument too.

– Helen Sharp, National Trust

Easter surprise at Arlington in North Devon

Flora and Verity Sharpe with the quintuplets and mum Credit: National Trust

Quintuplets born to a sheep in North Devon have given an Easter surprise to staff on a National Trust estate.

The five lambs were born to Blodwyn the Lleyn sheep at Arlington Court near Barnstaple. Mother and babies are said to be doing well - although two of her lambs are being weaned by another ewe to spread the demand.

"This is the first time in the 15 years I have worked at Arlington that one of our ewes has had five lambs. Despite the 18-hour days, I always enjoy lambing, but this year it was a real joy to have five healthy lambs born at once."

"I had watched the ewe give birth to two lambs, and then, thinking there was only one left to come, left my daughters to supervise the final birth. Soon they come running in to the house calling for me, and reported that five lambs had been born within half an hour."

– Murray Sharpe, National Trust Ranger

Valentines flower count suggests spring is not far away

Spring is not far away! Credit: National Trust / ITV News

The annual valentines flower count has shown an increase in flower bloom by 17%.

Gardeners say this means spring is on it's way - as long as it's not stopped by any cold snaps!

The count which is run by National Trust also confirmed the Snow Drop was voted the top spring flower in the South West.

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Annual Valentine’s Flower count underway

The annual Valentine's Flower count is taking place across Devon and Cornwall.

National Trust gardeners will spend the next two days counting different species and varieties of bloom.

The tradition started in 2006. It will give an indication on what weather we can expect this spring.

The annual flower count is underway

Work starts today to repair Dyrham Park

Work starts today to fix the roof at Dyrham Park near Bath Credit: ITV News

Work starts today on a £3.8 million project to repair an historic house near Bath.

The National Trust had to take action after water started leaking through the roof of Dyrham Park, putting the 17th century building and collection at risk.

The lead roofing and slates will be replaced throughout 2015 and visitors will be able to watch the work in progress.

Wiltshire's 250-year-old Pantheon saved for the future

This is the most photographed view in the National Trust - at its heart is the pantheon which has just been repaired Credit: ITV News
The 250 year old building has just undergone months of work to stop it falling down Credit: ITV News
Inside the Pantheon are statues of Hercules and Diana. Now much more secure thanks to work on the roof Credit: ITV News

National Trust fails in bid to buy Bantham beach

Bantham beach and Avon estuary was expected to sell for around £11.5 million Credit: ITV News West Country

The National Trust has failed in its bid to buy a Devon beach, despite getting the backing of Richard Branson. Bantham was put on the market after one of the family that owned it died. The charity began fundraising to stop it ending up in private hands. It says it's extremely disappointed.

Mark Harold, South West Regional Director for the National Trust says:

"We will of course continue to care and protect for ever and for everyone the 40 miles and 3,000 hectares of the South Devon coast we already care for.

"We would also want, if possible, to work with any future owners of Bantham Beach & Estuary and ensure that this beautiful location is continued to be enjoyed by the many thousands of people who have told us how much it means to them.

"We would like to thank everyone for their support of our fundraising appeal".

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