Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Preparing for bluebells

"Did you want it out by the roots?"

An overgrown section of woodland at Penrose, received a boost last week as a team of ten volunteers and staff spent the day removing rhododendron and thinning trees.

The increased light will make more space and create new opportunities for woodland plants such as bluebells.

There will also be a greater range of habitats for other wildlife as the coppiced trees regrow and are supplemented with other species to broaden the mix of trees and shrubs in the wood.

"If she would only get out of the way we could get something done!"

The day is part of a project to create a new network of paths in the wood presently called Park Planataion but eventually to be renamed Bluebell Walk.

As well as volunteers carrying out the practical work, a local school will also be involved in the interpretation and waymarking of the wood.

"Nice brew!"

No prior knowledge or skills are required to volunteer with the Trust, so if you would like to be involved in this or any other work at Penrose, please contact Laura Bailey or Nick Gordon on 01326 554715/6

                                                                                                                                 Nick Gordon

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Spoons and Spatulas

We made these!
A group of students from EcoSoc based at Tremough Campus, Penryn braved the bitterly cold winds last weekend, to join us for a day's greenwoodworking at Poltesco. Both pole lathes were in action, with some fine candlesticks the result. Folk also had a go at making gypsy flowers, formed by shaving slithers from hazel rods, and making cord from New Zealand Flax leaves, shredded into fine fibres and then twisted into string. Not easy at the best of times, and even trickier with cold hands!
Whittling round the fire

Huddled round the fire for some whittling was understandably the favourite spot! With some determined carving everyone mastered turning a log into a utensil, seeing the whole process through, using axe, shave horse and straight and crook knives along the way. No one will ever take a wooden spoon for granted again!
A gypsy flower to be proud of!

EcoSoc is a society offering environment related activities and talks which university students can join in their free time. We'll be meeting up later in the year to take a look at some of the Lizard's speciality rare plants. Hopefully we can ditch the woolly hats by May! 

Candlesticks take shape on the lathes

If you're involved with a community group that would like to give green woodworking a go, then feel free to get in touch with the Lizard Ranger team


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Mullion Wildspace

Mullion school ended their year with the official grand opening of their brand new Wildlife garden. Earlier in 2011, Claire Scott from Natural England and Jan Rice, teacher at Mullion school, secured funding for a brand new wildife garden to be created within the school grounds through the Big Lottery fund.
A rather damp opening to the Wildspace! From left: Falmouth students Aaron, Sarah and Rachel, Wild Trees Thomas Jeffery, Eleanor Parsons National Trust, Claire Scott Natural England and Stuart Goy Landscapes.

Thomas Jeffery making the toadstools
Planting Oregano around the
new bird bath
The project has involved the children from the start; from the planning of what they wanted in their garden to the hands on part of planting and building bird boxes, each and every pupil has made they contibution to the garden. Claire has worked closely with the National Trust in the planning and implementing of all aspects of the garden and the Trust have supplied a lot of the timber free of charge from our woodland on the Helford. There are many people to thank for their input on the project starting with Stuart Goy who undertook the hard landscaping, Thomas Jeffery who produced the beautiful birdbath and wooden toadstools, Falmouth art students who designed and made the interactive interpretation signs with the childrens artwork and of course all our volunteers who have supported us every step of the way.

The interactive signs were designed and constructed by Falmouth students using sweet chestnut wood provided by the National Trust's sustainable woodlands on the Helford estuary.
The 'Wildspace' as its known, will continue  to grow and develop into a fantastic place for the children to enjoy, discover and learn. It will provide an outside classroom for different areas of their curriculum such as art, science and English. They have already made themselves at home there and even made homes for others as they showed me the woodlouse houses they had made under the fence. The different areas of the garden include (and aptly named by the children!) leafy lane, butterfly bonanza, insect den, bee buffet, mish mash marsh and bird banquet. I think the local wildlife will be pleased to hear of the new residence!

The Wildspace will be open to the community on certain dates througout the year and is well worth a look around so stay tuned for further updates.


Thursday, 5 January 2012

Festive fun at Poltesco

Christmas at Poltesco was brought to life with the annual “Christmas Craft Workshop”. The day saw around twenty eager young craftsmen and women raring to ditch mum and dad for the day and have some festive fun. For starters the children got stuck into making traditional Christmas wreathes made from Holly, Ivy, willow and an assortment of pinecones that were finished off with a festive dusting of snow in a can.

Once they had started they couldn’t wait to make more stocking filers such as the Christmas fairies made from willow, seashell tree decorations and willow stars, and that was just for starters. All of this merry madness left us hungering for some sweet treats. For lunch we all took a trip up to feed the Poltesco ponies, a treat for the ponies was only fair after indulging in mince pies and celebrations for our dessert. Once both we and the ponies were fed, it was time to get back to more craft creation.

The next stocking filler involved making our own felt from sheep’s wool that created some amazing multi coloured patterns, from this custom made fabric the children made some truly beautiful decorations that wouldn’t look out of place in a crafts shop. While in the creative mood the next job was to make Yule logs, with hand made candles. The children expertly rolled their sheets of wax around a wick to make a truly unique finish to the gift.

There weren’t enough hours in the day to tire these creative craftsmen and women out, but I am sure when the parents saw all they would have to carry home they were glad there was still room under the tree.

It was a great day for both the people running the event and everyone that took part; we look forward to hopefully seeing the same faces and maybe a few new ones next year. From all of us here at the National Trust Poltesco, we would like to wish you a very happy Christmas.


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