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Rare butterfly coming back to the West

The Heath Fritillary is one of the rarest butterflies in the country. Credit: Iain Leach

One of the UK's rarest butterflies is making a comeback thanks to a new site in Exmoor National Park.

The Heath Fritillary has multiplied in numbers, thanks to work by the Park Authority to create suitable coppice clearings in nearby areas

New stamps honour the West's most iconic bridges

Two of the West's most iconic bridges have been honoured in a new set of stamps by the Royal Mail.

They celebrate the huge leaps in engineering made over the last few centuries:

Do you recognise these bridges? Credit: Royal Mail Group
Tarr Steps, River Barle, Exmoor Credit: Royal Mail Group
Pulteney Bridge, River Avon, Bath Credit: Royal Mail Group


Exmoor ponies arrive in Czech Republic for breeding

Exmoor ponies are an endangered breed Credit: ITV News

Ponies are synonymous with our national parks and while numbers of some are increasing, others face dying out.

One endangered breed is the Exmoor mare which is in particular danger. But in a new conservation project 14 ponies have been shipped to the Czech Republic for a breeding programme which aims to increase their numbers.

They will be living in a 40 hectare pasture on a site of a former military base where there progress will be carefully monitored.

If the breeding proves successful more will be sent to other locations across Europe.

Sir Ranulph tells us about his next adventure

He's climbed Everest, reached both the north and south poles, and raised millions for charity. Sir Ranulph Fiennes shows no signs of slowing down.

His next challenge is the formidable Marathon des Sables - a six-day, 156-mile run across the Sahara desert in 50 degree heat.

Earlier he told Ian Axton what it was all about.

For more information about Sir Ranulph's race or to find out more about Marie Curie click here.

  1. National

Sir Ranulph to attempt 'toughest footrace on earth'

Sir Ranulph Fiennes could become the oldest Briton ever to complete the Marathon des Sables. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Veteran explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will take on "the toughest footrace on Earth" in April - the Marathon des Sables in Morocco - in a bid to raise millions for charity and become the oldest Briton ever to complete the race.

Sir Ranulph, who turns 71 in March, must run 156 miles across the Sahara in 50C heat to complete the six-day ultramarathon.

He hopes to raise £2.5 million for Marie Curie, which provides care and support to terminally ill people and their families across the UK.

Relative to some of the other things, this will take less time to train for - it will only take six or seven months of running five days a week.

– Sir Ranulph Fiennes


Extension to route across Exmoor officially opens

An extension to the Coleridge Way across Exmoor will be officially opened later today.

The route celebrates the work of Westcountry poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who drew inspiration from the diverse landscape, breathtaking views and rugged terrain. It's now 51 miles long and signposted with a quill logo.

Exmoor Ranger Adam Vasey tells us more:

  1. West Country (E)

Major decline in West Country bee species

A bumble bee. Credit: PA

75% of the most threatened bee species have been lost to some of the region's counties.

A report by nature conservation charity Buglife says the large garden bumblebee (Bombus ruderatus) is still found in Gloucestershire and Somerset, but over the past 50 years has disappeared from Dorset and the far South West.

The increased use of pesticides and unpredictable weather have contributed to their decline.

Homes could be built on national parks without planning permission

Managers in charge of our National Parks in Devon say they're 'outraged' at planning changes, which could mean thousands of new houses on Dartmoor and Exmoor.

Unoccupied farm buildings could be converted into homes without the need for planning permission, which could change the face of the landscape. John Andrews reports.

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