Friday, 17 February 2012

Working together for nature

Scrub? Where? Unleash the combined forces of NE and NT.
As part of an ongoing emphasis on partnership working, under the umbrella of "Linking the Lizard" we've recently joined forces with our friends at Natural England to clear an impressive amount of scrub from important rare plant sites, and to open up an overgrown trackway.

Autumn Squill
 The three sites we've been working on are all in private ownership, two near the northern edge of Goonhilly Downs, and one near Coverack. They were highlighted by keen local botanists who have been revisiting many places off the beaten track that were first noted for rare plants in the 1980s, but that have been pretty much forgotten since. With the botanists' knowledge, our combined machinery and muscle, and the support of the land owners, we've been marching to the rescue of the rare plants. On the outcrops, the pretty mauve flowered Autumn Squill (a lily relative) is one of the nationally scarce plants that we've been helping, by removing gorse that was threatening to shade it out.

Yellow Centaury
 The trackway, now that overhanging willow has been removed, should once again be perfect for the delicate little yellow centaury, which is no more than a few centimetres tall. A whole host of our rarest plants, including the very rare pygmy rush, which only grows on the Lizard in Britain, are associated with 'temporary Mediterranean ponds'. Puddles to you and I! And the best way to manage tracks for such rare plants? By driving along them with a tractor occasionally! It's a hard job but someone's got to do it! The tyres cut through the leaf litter and expose bare mud, and spread seed in their tread as a bonus.

Another outcrop cleared thanks to our Feb half term vols
 Thanks to all who have been involved in these days, including our enthusiastic band of volunteers from all over the country, who come down to Cornwall for a week's working holiday every February half-term.

 We're all looking forward to seeing what comes up later in the year, and we're already planning more projects for next winter.

....and after

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