Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Mullion Harbour Day

Mullion harbour day is back this year on the 30 June. Alongside all the usual fun and games there will be a whole range of fun races for everyone whose prepared to get a bit wet! Start planning now for your raft race entry and visit our facebook page if you have any questions on raft rules.
See you there.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Foraging and Feasting on the Lizard

A couple of years ago I was invited to do a piece on Radio 5 live about foraging for food from the wild. This was a live discussion with John Wright, author of the River Cottage foraging books. I think I was brought in to offer a counter argument, defending the rights of wild plants and animals to remain ‘un-foraged’ in the name of conservation. Unbeknown to 5 Live, I am also a keen forager and agreed with pretty much everything John had to say on the subject.

From a conservation point of view, so long as the countryside isn’t pillaged of plants, animals and fungi for commercial gain, then I can’t really see the problem in collecting nature’s bounty once in a while for personal use. If it brings people closer to nature, making them appreciate what unspoilt and well managed countryside can offer, then foraging can only help our conservation goals.

I’ve just completed a series of three guided ‘forage and feast’ walks around Predannack near Mullion. Foraging is certainly ‘in vogue’ these days, with each walk well attended, with over 50 people putting their trust in my judgement as to what’s edible and what’s downright toxic!

Photo credit Dom Brandreth

The best times of year for foraging are spring and autumn. Spring is best for all the lovely young herbs, shoots, flowers and leaves, whereas Autumn offers the best time for fruit, nuts and of course fungi. Predannack Cliffs in May are swathed in wild flowers, a feast for the eyes if not the taste buds!

Each walk started with a short ‘Die, Starve or Survive’ game, where various plants (both edible and poisonous) were offered to those attending. I must say that had it been a real life or death scenario, not many would have survived too long. It’s amazing how similar Cow Parsley and Alexanders resemble Hemlock and Hemlock Water Dropwort and how Sorrel can be a dead ringer for Lords and Ladies!

wood sorrel (photo Jourdon)

As a reward for their ‘virtual’ poisoning, I served up some Sea Beet and Wild Garlic soup which seemed to go down well, before embarking on our walk around the cliffs.

En-route we munched on wild water mint, water cress, pennywort, rock samphire and various other tasty, and not so tasty, herbs, leaves and flowers. Occasional stops were rewarded with other morsels I’d prepared earlier such as Water Cress Omelette, Ransom pesto, seaweeds and one lucky group was treated to a wee dram of bramble whiskey!

All in all a very successful series of walks, and as far as I’m aware, no-one was seriously poisoned.

Look out for some fungi forage walks later in the year.

Happy foraging


Monday, 28 May 2012

Adventures with Landewednack School

Class 3 showing their best miserable Victorian faces
It's been an action packed few weeks for Landewednack School, with lots of NT adventures far and wide. Class 3 travelled up to Lanhydrock recently to explore the historic house. The Victorian school room complete with period games to play was a real hit.

Everyone dressed the part, with Mr B looking dapper in his top hat! In the afternoon the group joined me in the parkland to try their hand at measuring trees, using all sorts of nifty tricks to gauge their circumference and height. Taller than we're used to seeing on the Lizard that's for sure! 

Last week the whole school came down to the Waterings Nature Garden class by class, as part of an ongoing partnership first established 15 years ago. Class 1 became bug hunters for the afternoon, and received a surprise visit from a giant hedgehog bearing gifts of badger, frog and fox masks!

Class 2 went on a Spider Safari, making their own 8 legged friends out of pipe cleaners and pom-poms, as well as having some close encounters with the real kind, courtesy of 'pooter' bug suckers.

Class 3 battled it out in 3 teams with a nature quiz, and then had a go at building shelters out of coppice poles, bamboo, and anything else to hand.

With all the hot and sunny weather we were glad of the shade!

We're happy to offer similar nature based fun to all Lizard schools, so please do get in touch if it appeals


Friday, 11 May 2012

Flora Day 2012

For Flora Day this year, we were lucky enough to have Bella the 1971 VW campervan with us!

We were giving out leaflets about the local area and events, recruiting new members and chatting to people about volunteering with the National Trust.

Helston looked lovely in the May sunshine...

... and we also had a "how many people can we fit in Bella" competition!


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Week of Walks

Walk for the Week with the Lizard and Penrose Team

The National Trust team at the Lizard and Penrose are planning another walking festival this year. For a whole week this May they will be holding a series of walks that highlight the natural beauty and diversity of the area. From identifying spring flowers at Kynance to foraging for your lunch in the wild, there’s plenty to experience on the walks.

Kynnace beach from the cliff tops. 
‘There really is lots of incredibly walking to be done here,’ says Layla Astley, Visitor Services Manager. ‘Having our own walking event allows us to really show off the exciting and beautiful natural places we look after and gives us an opportunity to teach people about what we do to keep these places so special.’

‘Lots of people visit our properties to walk all through the year and want to know more about what they are seeing. This will be a great opportunity get answers to these questions from our experienced team of rangers,’ she adds.

Loe Bar looking East towards the cliffs at Halzephron

The ‘Week of Walks’ starts on Sunday 20 May with a guided botanical walk taking in the spring flowers along the cliff tops at Kynance. Please see the column on the right for more information on the walks coming up or get in touch for details by calling 01326 561 407.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Blooming Bluebells

The bluebell woods at Penrose are looking marvellous at the moment with the flowers nearly at their peak. Over the winter we've been working in Sycamore Grove with local volunteers removing rhododendron and coppicing the woodland to allow more light down to the ground. 

The footpath through the Sycamore Grove is now open to walkers and cyclists. Coming from Helston, you can access it from the track on the right just after Helston Lodge. Coming from Penrose Hill car park, head through the kissing gate by the bath house, cross the river and head up the field to the small gate into the woods. Let us know what you think!

Porthleven Food and Music Festival

Porthleven Food Festival was a great success this year, as we had free kids activities, which included making flying dragonflies, felt bracelets and elder/ bamboo necklaces.


Join us for other events like this throughout the summer, pick up a Lizard and Penrose events leaflet or visit the website at or /penrose

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