Friday, 26 November 2010

Spotters Spot

This rare albino Dunnock was seen on the south side of Loe Pool yesterday and this morning. This photograph was taken by our warden Dave while out looking for a recent reporting of a flock of Lapland Buntings, another rarity. We want to keep an eye on the Dunnock over the winter so if you see it while you're out in the area, let us know where and when.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Joining forces for wildlife

Twin headed clover, one of the species to benefit from our work

Yesterday a dozen hardy souls keen to lend a hand for wildlife, braved some sharp rain and hail showers, to join forces in making a difference for wildlife on the Lizard. The poor weather didn’t dent enthusiasm and we succeeded in completing our goal, which was to clear a ring of gorse threatening to overshadow a rocky knoll which is home to some truly unusual plants, including the rare wild chives, the tiny 1cm high dwarf rush, the strange grass-like fern land quillwort, and the aptly named twin-headed clover. The Lizard has long been famed for its unusual plants, and is one of the top botanical spots in the country, with several species such as land quillwort found nowhere else on mainland Britain

Volunteers cutting gorse

Whilst much has been achieved for wildlife on the Lizard, there are still plenty of places where rare plants need a helping hand. This site, which is in private ownership near Kynance, is a real botanical gem, and we are pleased that by combining our resources with the in-depth knowledge of local botanists, and the support of the landowner, we've been able to make a real difference to the fortunes of some of our rarest species.

The work party included National Trust and Natural England staff and volunteers, Botanical Cornwall Group Members, and local residents keen to get involved. Thanks to all who helped out.


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Dirty weekend update.

Despite the rain, about 25 people braved the elements to join us in a weekend of wood turning, coppicing, whittling and charcoal making in Tremayne Woods on the Helford, with many of us camping out on the Saturday night. The weekend was a great excuse to get very wet and muddy whilst learning some traditional woodland crafts.

The first job was loading up the charcoal kiln and lighting it. The kiln needed to burn for almost 24 hours before it could be emptied. However due to the very damp conditions we could have done with leaving it quite a bit longer as not all the wood had completely turned to charcoal.

We then spent some time helping in the traditional and sustainable practice of coppicing. This technique of cutting the trees at ground level takes advantage of the fact that many species of tree will regrow from the cut stump. Woodlands have been managed in this way for many thousands of years, but the practice has recently fallen out of favour due to the cheap import of timber from overseas. Rotationally coppiced woodlands support a huge variety of wildlife and the product, nice straight hazel poles, make ideal bean poles and fantastic charcoal.

We then learnt some traditional bodging skills. Bodging is a traditional craft, using green or unseasoned wood, turned on a traditional foot powered pole lathe. Until the middle of the last century, thousands of chair legs and backs were turned on these lathes by bodgers holed up in their woodland hovels famously for the Windsor Chair industry. Nowadays, mechanisation of the industry has all but killed this ancient craft. However, it is still a remarkably therapeutic and satisfying craft and some wonderful candlesticks, egg cups and stool legs were turned on the lathes during the weekend by our budding bodgers.

Participants also learnt how to whittle a spoon, cleave chestnut and use a shave horse. One young girl made herself a beautiful three legged stool from cleft chestnut and turned holly. Another young lad made his dad a spoon for Christmas and many other wonderful things were made, and skills learnt.

Justin and the Lizard team
and thanks to Rose Ashley for the photos

More photos to follow.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Fancy a dirty weekend in the woods?


 You are invited to join us for a ‘dirty weekend’ on 13 and 14 November. Don’t worry, there’s nothing dodgy or suspicious about this event, just an opportunity to get dirty learning some traditional woodland crafts; making charcoal, trying your hands at bodging and helping the wardens with some coppice management. The dirty weekend is happening at Tremayne Woods near Gear Farm on the Lizard

We'll be loading the charcoal kiln on Saturday with sustainably produced wood from the coppiced woodland. Participants will then learn how to use a pole lathe and shave horse whilst helping the wardening staff with coppicing some of the woodland. The charcoal kiln will burn all night before being unloaded on Sunday.

On Sunday we'll practice our green woodwork skills (maybe take home a candle stick or even a stool?)before the charcoal is tested on a well earned BBQ. Camping is optional on the Saturday night. Cost of the event is £10 per day, or £15 for the weekend.  Please get in touch with me at for more information, or give me a call 01326 240282.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Prince's Trust

The Prince's Trust Cornwall College have been working with David and Steve the Wardens on the  Penrose Estate  clearing and burning  scrub to give alternative access around a wet and muddy area along the footpath at Carminowe Creek

Paul Hawken and  the team worked for 5 days over the last 3 weeks learning new skills in conservation and access whilst improving  public enjoyment of the aera as part of their Prince's Trust City & Guilds Award and certificate in Personal Development and Contributing to the Community


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Girls just wanna have fun!!!!

During the half term holidays, the National Trust on the Lizard was involved in an innovative project specifically for girls. In partnership with the Eden Project, and funded through Cornwall Council, we invited girls of all ages to spend two days camping in Tremayne Woods on the Helford river. Girls are particularly discriminated against when it comes to adventurous play, and are often left sidelined when boys are playing alongside. For this reason, the event was limited only to girls (and their mums). Over twenty girls aged from 5 yrs to 13 yrs attended the event, for some their first ever time camping.

We spent the first day building dens (which some of the girls slept in overnight!!) before we gave them a load of nets, ropes and swings to create their own adventure playground in the trees.  

We then showed the girls how to make fire (without matches!) before they cooked their supper on the campfire. After roasting marshmallows we took them on a night walk in the forest to test their bravery (it was quite scary even for the adults!).

After a very sound sleep under canvas and their dens, and a breakfast cooked on the fire, we took the children down to the river where their task was to build rafts and row them out into the river. Great fun and all of the girls rose to the challenge.

Whilst the whole event was very carefully managed, it was heartening to see that this kind of event doesn't need to get bogged down in H&S red tape and unwieldy risk assessments. The kids were given the freedom to explore their own limits, discover the risks for themselves and push themselves beyond their own comfort zones. And of course, there were no incidents, no accidents, not even any tears. Everyone got very muddy, wet and tired, and had the most fantastic time!

As part of the project, we interviewed the children about what they wanted from the outdoors, and what barriers they felt were in their way. Their responses were videoed and this valuable information can now be used to encourage further debate about how the outdoors is perceived. For this particular group of girls, their love affair with the countryside has certainly been rekindled!

A big thankyou to the Eden team and Cornwall Council for making this event possible!!


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Autumn's here - come and enjoy it !

The weather is a bit wilder today, but the trees are still changing colour and the woods look amazing.

Tremayne oaks
Living here I guess it can be easy to sometimes take things for granted but last weekend we had two brilliant walks that really made me think about what's on my doorstep. 

Firstly at Tremayne on the Helford River, loads of wildlife - egrets, herons and a close fly-by from a Sparrowhawk. But the best bit was the Sweet Chestnuts - perhaps we have last winter's cold spell to thank ? - but we came back with a big bag of really plump chestnuts that went straight into the oven before being greedily devoured for tea.

Then Penrose on Sunday, a walk from the Parkland to Loe Bar, dodging the showers but burning a few calories along the way with regualr stop offs on the Trust's Green Gym. And as you can see from the photos, you are never too young to start learning !
Where next ?

There are over 5 miles of footpaths in and around the Penrose Estate, loads of it through a great variety of woodlands and car parks at the Amenity Area, Degibna and Penrose Hill. And on the south coast of the Helford River places like Tremayne and Frenchmans Creek provide some of the only opportunities where you can get close up and alongside this amazing place.

So whether it's a bit of birdwatching, a stroll with some friends, a jog or a bit of forraging, come and enjoy - whatever the season - and remember to tell us what you think.


Monday, 1 November 2010

Is it a strawberry?

This was just one of the scary (if giant fruit terrifies you) creations at our recent well attended half-term Hallowe'en lantern making workshop at Poltesco. Glue and glitter were flying as witches' hats, pyramids, ghosts and even a dog were shaped from nothing more than withies from the hedgerows, masking tape and tissue paper. Anything's possible with a bit of imagination!


Contact us


Email *

Message *