A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

Historical Data of the Lizard to Support Local Flora

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.

Aim

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

How would we cope without them?

Volunteers

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.

Invisible Stock Fencing!! We ARE Living in The Future!!

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!!

Is our climate changing?

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.

It was a dark and stormy winter.....

...but despite that, essential conservation work continued through rain and wind and mud on the coastal slopes of Trevalsoe near to Lowland Point, Coverack. The land is under an Environmental Stewardship agreement between Natural England and Louis and Alan Pengilly of Trebarveth Farm who manage the whole stretch of their coast in a traditional way with cattle and controlled winter burning to keep the heathland habitats in good condition.

Join the ReFILL Revolution!

Bottle mountain on beach

Bottle mountain on Cornish beach with ReFILL Cornwall team behind, photo by Symages

Adults in Cornwall will use an estimated 64 million single use plastic water bottles this year, a shocking figure! With low local recycling rates in our county, and a growing demand from industry to make bottles out of single use plastic, the scale of plastic entering our waste streams is rapidly increasing and too much of this waste is littering our oceans and land. Plastic is not biodegrable, it will remain in the environment potentially forever. US scientists recently estimated that 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been made with 70% of this total production now in our waste streams. And as we all know, escaped plastic harms wildlife through entrapment and once ingested it finds it ways into our food chain.

Seal pup amid plastic, photo by Sue SayerSeal pup amid plastic, photo by Sue Sayer

ReFILL Cornwall aims to reduce our plastic pollution and litter levels by calling on people to make just one simple change – to choose tap water instead of buying plastic bottled water both at home and out and about. It is an original concept created by BeachCare (Keep Britain Tidy) and launched with Bude resident, Deb Rosser, in 2014 with support from South West Water. The aim was to encourage people to buy a ReFILL flask and ReFILL it with tap water at various locations in Bude. It has been a success, reducing plastic usage and raising thousands of pounds from the sale of ReFILL flasks for the ‘Friends of Bude Sea Pool’.

 

Kennack Towans: restoration of a dune

Kennack sands in winterThe many thousands of locals and visitors alike which stream onto Kennack Sands during the Spring and Summer months may well be unaware that a National Nature Reserve backs onto the beaches where they will be spending time picnicking and body-boarding. With the exception of the occasional Outreach or educational activity the NNR team generally has a fairly low profile during these months of the year. However, as the days of autumn shorten and grow cooler, the annual management regime for the dune system swings into life. A regular visitor to Kennack would soon be aware of the construction of an elaborate temporary fenced enclosure, followed very quickly afterwards by the arrival of a number of Shetland ponies. In the months that follow there will be several days of noisy activity as scrub is cleared and burnt. After a while both the ponies and the fencing disappear and quiet descends once more until the return of warmer days and beach-goers.

LAN concentrates on fewer sites for clear-ups


In 2009, a project to help local people get involved in the management and care of archaeological sites on the Lizard was established by Historic Environment, Cornwall Council, in partnership with Natural England, English Heritage, the National Trust, the Meneage Archaeology Group (MAG) and CASPN: the Cornwall Ancient Sites Protection Network. Site monitoring and monthly scrub clearance sessions were initiated, with the latter proving particularly popular. The group, known as the Lizard Ancient Sites Protection Network or LAN achieved dramatic improvements to the condition and presentation of many sites and is now self-sustaining.