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.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.

Rare prostrate asparagus (NT photo library)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. Skylark - S BuryHowever, 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)

 Sounds of the shore logo

I’m really very excited about the new 'Sounds of our Shores' project that launched just last week. Find out what we are up to and how you can get involved by clicking on this audio clip or by reading the blog below:

Children recording coastal sounds at Birling Gap, East SussexAs part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Neptune Coastline Campaign National Trust are working with National Trust for Scotland and the British Sound Library to create the first ever coastal sound map; an archive of new and old coastal sounds from across the UK. We can’t do this alone, we need your help.
Over the next three months we are asking you go out to your local coast or a new stretch of coast and to discover and record the sounds that you hear there. You can then upload them to the 'Sounds of our Shores' audio boom channel.

Teneriffe Farm on the west coast of the LizardPredannack Cliffs and Teneriffe Farm on the west coast of the Lizard are an extremely diverse historic landscape. There is the coastal grassland and heathland of the National Nature Reserve, and the ancient and unchanged coastal fields where the boundaries have always remain untouched. And then there are the slightly inland fields, which are a little more productive, and the arable fields of Teneriffe. Every field is different. Stone hedging forms the boundaries, some is ancient and some not quite so old.

This article will expand on an area of research currently being carried out on the Lizard, mentioned in my previous entry.

The area of research I will expand on is the FARM (Farming and Resilience Management) project. The FARM project is an initiative led by myself and PhD student Timothy Walker from the University of Exeter, supported by Roskilly and Camel Farms, in conjunction with the Environment and Sustainability Institute.


LogN1000The aim of the FARM project is to determine areas of the Lizard most suitable to conservation management. Using this information we will discuss the potential for implementing management schemes with local farmers. We hope to determine which management schemes are both suitable and realistic within the farming framework.

Example of a GIS map of Ellenberg Indicator Value change, using Nitrogen as an example.Diagram:- Owen Greenwood and Julien Macetteau


The very simple answer to that question is we couldn't. Here at the Lizard National Nature Reserve we have over 5000 acres of land to manage and we wouldn't be able to achieve anywhere near the amount of work it takes to keep the NNR in favourable condition without the help and support of our volunteers. Some statistics were produced last year for Natural England that showed that on all of the National Nature Reserves managed directly by Natural England, volunteers carried out over 23000 man days of work worth over £2.4 million.

Caerthillian Cove Caerthillian Cove on the south west tip of The Lizard peninsula is a site of botanical splendour. It is winter grazed by ponies to conserve its wonderful floristic diversity. In recent years the animals have been contained within temporary electric fencing. Despite being minimalistic this is still labour intensive, inconvenient for walkers, and detracts from the glorious landscape. This winter we are experimenting with an invisible fence system –and at the moment we are still holding our breath!!

What do your favourite places tell you about how the climate is changing?

The Lizard from PredannackWe all have our favourite places and they are as important to us as any of the things we treasure in our lives. I love the Lizard for its remarkable landscape, amazing geology and lovely beaches, but the coastpath from Lizard to Church Cove at Gunwalloe has particular significance. It is a route that I have walked many times and last summer I ran it as part of a team of four completing the Classic Quarter – a 44 run from Lizard to Land's End. Predannack coastlineThe nine mile stretch of coast path from the Most Southerly Point to Church Cove has some significant ascents and descents but, early on a lovely June morning, I was filled with the kind of quiet delight that only the view of the cliffs and the sea can bring and I wasn't thinking too much about the hills. Familiar with the terrain, I was confident as I ascended the cliff that I would come out at Predannack and enjoy an easy mile or so along the flat top along the edge of the airfield.

Little did I realise that the weeks of rain that would eventually define the weather of summer 2012 had already saturated the ground. As my leg sunk knee deep in a boggy puddle and my trainer started to be sucked free of my foot, I knew that I wouldn't be enjoying any easy miles on this nine mile leg. And it also got me to thinking about how the places with which we are familiar can tell us a lot about how our climate is changing.