Leaky dam taking shape
A project to help restore wildlife habitats and access on the Penrose Estate near Helston that began last year has now been completed thanks to the help of local volunteers and working groups.
A partnership of conservation groups came together with the aim of improving the willow carr alongside the River Cober. The work, which was coordinated by the National Trust, included coppicing and felling small trees and building leaky dams comprised of carefully-stacked logs and brash. Sections of path were also raised and re-surfaced to improve access for walkers.
Historically, the River Cober took a meandering course through the area, but was straightened in the 1960’s in response to concerns about flooding in Helston. As a result the willow carr is gradually drying out. As part of the work, a small number of pipes have been installed to allow water to flow out of the river and into the drier areas of the willow carr.
Holding back the water in these floodplain areas longer into the summer will create wetter ground conditions that will allow new habitats to develop; open water pools will develop which will attract spawning amphibians in spring and dragonflies in summer; creating new open glades and piling up the brash and logs will provide new nesting habitats for birds and small mammals; and the large populations of bats at Penrose will be encouraged into these new open areas to forage for insects.
With the help of supporters, partners and volunteers, we have been able to take a nature-first approach by restoring this amazing place and making it healthy, beautiful and rich in wildlife. The willow carr is a fantastic wildlife habitat and a beautiful place to go walking. This project has improved it for both nature and people.
We’d like to say a big thank you to all the local volunteers who have been involved. As a charity we rely on the support of our local community to help us care for Penrose.
A pond starting to form
Published: Feb 2017
Author: Alastair Cameron (General Manager - The Lizard & Penrose)