Although much of the unique natural history value of The Lizard was not recognized until relatively recently, its wildlife resources are now very well protected. There are a host of designations, dedicated organisations and individuals which combine to ensure that this priceless area is best conserved.

West coast clifftop habitat

Apprentice Warden Claire Pumfrey with the controlled burning tools of the tradeThose of you who are regular watchers of the sky may have noticed in the last few weeks that it changed from its more traditional winter colour of battleship grey to something approaching a pleasing shade of blue. Yet, at this time of year, cometh the blue sky, cometh the smoke as farmers and conservationists alike took the opportunity of this window of dry and settled weather to burn selected patches of heathland. For those unfamiliar with the practice it appears a destructive form of habitat management, but carried out correctly it has a number of benefits for both graziers and wildlife and is regarded as one of man’s oldest land management tools, predating civilisation itself.

This is a question I’ve been asked many times since I donned the mantle of “Survey and Monitoring Trainee” at Natural England. Tom, my fellow trainee, and I find ourselves in the rather enviable position of spending three months involved in a wide and varied plethora of tasks touching upon varying aspects of the management and conservation efforts within a National Nature Reserve.

Tom preparing to herd some Shetland ponies at the cliffs at Caerthillian Maintenance of the invisible fences at Caerthillian

Before I moved here I was promised by anyone I discussed my impending placement with that I was relocating to one of the most beautiful locations in the country, with more wildlife and biodiversity than I could shake a stick at. I will readily admit that, one month in, I have not been disappointed. With tasks ranging from surveying marsh fritillary habitats, herding Shetland ponies, discovering new colonies of the Red Data Book Species land quillwort (Isoetes histrix), and failing to register historic ones, maintaining invisible fences, nest-watching Cornish choughs, partaking in guided woodland walks and observing barn-owl ringing we’ve got more than just a flavour of what conservation on the Lizard is all about.

View of completed bridgeWalkers passing through Carleon Cove, near Cadgwith, on the Lizard's east coast are in for a treat, thanks to the completion of a stunning new footbridge that carries the South West Coast Path over the Poltesco River.

The bridge has been designed to reflect the curved lines of a boat, and it is made in oak and larch, with stainless steel tension wires.

We knew the old bridge was near to the end of its life, so we decided to take the opportunity to do something different, to build a bridge that really did justice to this lovely place. We wanted a bridge that encouraged people to stop and linger. Most importantly, it had to be a good place to play Pooh sticks as that's always a favourite with the many school groups we bring here!

Loe Pool

Loe Pool Forum (LPF) is a catchment based partnership concerned with water pollution in Loe Pool and the impacts of flood risk management for Helston on the natural environment downstream of the town. LPF thinks of itself as sister ship to Linking the Lizard Partner-Ship. Moored alongside in the geographical sense, but working to improve the water environment rather than the terrestrial biodiversity. To stretch the metaphor LPF even share some crew; Alastair Cameron (National Trust) and Jeremy Clitherow (Natural England) who are on the bridge of both partner-ships.

Windmill FarmAnother great year at Windmill Farm! Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the CBWPS continue to provide excellent support to the upkeep, development and regeneration of the farm back to its natural habitat. Windmill Farm is, by design and nature, a boggy environment and heavy rain can cause the footpaths to become muddy – I advise that you always have your wellies with you and if it is particularly boggy/wet you may have to refrain from certain areas of the farm. The trust and helpers try their utmost (with scarce resource) to keep all paths clear at all times but it is not always possible. A big thank you from me – as always if any of you wish to help out please look on the CWT and CBWPS websites for events/dates. Also if you have anything you wish to discuss please contact me, or either of the Boards' of the societies, as we are always happy to listen, engage and discuss.


A 14 –tonne digger and a king size dumper truck are not what you expect to encounter amidst the skylarks and meadow pipits and general blissful tranquillity of Goonhilly Downs National Nature Reserve. But a few weeks ago that is exactly what you would have found – contractors Gordy and Ky turning their skills to restoring an old trackway for the benefit of the pigmy rush (Juncus pygmaeus).

Grazing the heath at Beagles Grazing the heath at Beagles

The National Trust has had ponies here on the Lizard for over 20 years, grazing the coastal heaths and grasslands for the benefit of wildlife. Our original herd, now aged over 30, is still going strong, proving a life of sea air does you good! These purebred Shetland ponies came to us from Arlington Court, a National Trust estate in north Devon, where some of their old pals still live today.