Farming for Wildlife
As tenants of the National Trust owned Predannack and Teneriffe Farms, we are now heading into our second spring, having taken on the tenancy in 2013.
This first year has been somewhat of a blur, during which I've certainly learnt a lot about myself and the farm. Although I grew up on a farm, my father died when I was relatively young and I was too daft to listen and soak up some of his intricate farming knowledge. He came from generations of farmers, all passing their skills on to their sons. Over the years, I learned my farming lessons the hard way and often slumped devastated for days over my mistakes.
Find us on Facebook
The Lizard Countryside Partnership now has a facebook page to keep abreast of happenings.
This website has been up and running for 6 months now. We are pleased with the way it is being used to make information about the natural environment on The Lizard more easily available. But we think there is scope to more easily share information, pictures and knowledge. And we think the way to do that may be by having a Facebook page - search under Linking the Lizard Countryside Partnership and you will find us.
Anyone can post on the page. So it would be great if people would like to share their passion for what is out and about on The Lizard, show off their dazzling photos, share news of upcoming events or report on a great one we missed.
Former WW2 bunker ‘recommissioned’ after 70 years
There are still many World War and Cold War structures scattered across The Lizard landscape. They range from a WW1 Airship Station all the way through to secret WW2 radar and later Cold war installations, all of which required an elaborate network of buildings, roads and communications systems and barracks for the many personnel who came made their war time homes here.
Now, as part of their Environmental Stewardship agreement with Natural England, The Tylor family invite local school groups out onto their land at Lanarth to discover at first-hand how they manage the countryside for both food production and its rich wildlife and historic interests. As part of their educational access work there soon became a need for Micky Tylor to find a suitable building that could be used as an on-farm classroom so that wet weather and washing facilities could be provided for the children’s visits.
Friends of Poldhu
Poldhu cove, on the west coast of the Lizard, attracts thousands of visitors to its sandy shores every year. From crowds of holiday makers during the summer months to locals and dog walkers in the winter, as well as the increasing number of those braving the surf. The rocky shore and dunes at the beach entrance support an array of maritime plants including some rarities such as Sea Knotgrass. It is also a great spot to see dolphins, seals and sometimes basking sharks. The Choughs can sometimes be seen here too as they travel between coastal feeding grounds.
Green Standards Report
I recently spent a lovely afternoon at the most southerly point, looking after the wildlife watchpoint and talking to visitors about the place, the seals or seabirds we were looking at and the work that the National Trust and other conservation partners in Linking the Lizard are doing to protect this special place and the wildlife that live here.
Heathland Management Course at Windmill Farm Nature Reserve
This July saw the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly run a Heathland Management Course at Windmill Farm Nature Reserve. The highlight for me was standing in Ruan Pool and the surrounding muddy trackways with course leader Ian Bennallick who every few steps would identify rare or uncommon plants such as Pigmy rush, Yellow centuary, Chaffweed, Pillwort, Lesser marshwort, Lesser Water-plantain, Shore-weed, and Alternate-flowered Water-milfoil.
Heathland restoration and re-creation on The Lizard
On The Lizard we can still enjoy relatively large expanses of heathland on a truly landscape scale. They are world famous for their unique assemblage of plants and animals and have been on the botanist's 'must see' list at least since John Ray, the 'Father of English botany', made the first botanical record here in 1667. He discovered 'Juniper or Firre-leaved heath (Cornish heath) by the wayside going from Helston to Lizard Point'.
An area of previously dense conifer plantation that has been felled to allow the restoration of a mosaic of heathland habitats including heath, scrub, tracks and ponds.
Help Protect the Nature you Love
On the Lizard we are lucky to have one of the most protected landscapes and habitats in the country. The whole peninsula is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we have a large National Nature Reserve, lots of Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Areas of conservation and more....
These designations, set up by European directives as long ago as the 1970s have helped protect many really special plants, animals and places from potential damage, development or neglect. However, these laws are coming under threat as a review set up by the European Commission could potentially weaken their integrity.
These wildlife areas really do matter, they help protect our water supplies, pollinate our crops and they give all of us places where we can get closer and be inspired by nature.
You can help voice your opinion by completing the Nature Alert Survey www.naturealert.eu/en
Published: June 2015
Author: Alastair Cameron (General Manager, The Lizard and Penrose)