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.

Earlier today I attended an enthralling lecture on the impacts of land sharing and land sparing by Professor Andrew Balmford, from the University of Cambridge. Land sharing and land sparing are probably the two most discussed proposals for balancing biodiversity conservation and food security moving in to the future.

Land sparing
Land sharing is based on the idea that integrating farming with wild habitats will allow plants and animals to continue to survive in an area while still producing food yield. Land sparing focuses on maximising food yield, but from a more constrained area. As I have mentioned in previous posts, farming is a key industry on the Lizard peninsula and so which method is found to be most effective could have major impacts on livelihoods in the area.

In the first few months of 2014, we have been busy clearing the hut circle settlement of Polcoverack [SW774 188] for the first time. We have now uncovered several hut circles that have not been visible for many years, and will continue to keep monitoring this interesting site.

If you would like to visit the site and see what we have been up to, take the St.Keverne road to St.Keverne Beacon (Dollys Corner) and then turn south on to the Penhallick road. After a few hundred metres you will see on your left a track that runs down towards Polcoverack Farm. Walk down this track and you will see a large cleared area on your left, and the hut circles are easily visible there. For further information about this site please contact Bart O'Farrell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give him a ring at 01326-281139.

Rona and Nevil AmissOne of our local farming families were awarded one of the food and farming industry’s highest honours, a National Trust Fine Farm Produce Award at BBC Countryfile Live earlier this summer, with the Lizard’s Tregullas Farm, the most southerly farm on mainland Britain, winning the National Trust’s first-ever ‘Farming with Nature’ award.

The Cornwall Wildlife Trust in Partnership with the MOD, Natural England and The National Trust are in the process of installing a number of pipe dams on Windmill Farm Nature Reserve and the neighbouring Predannack Airfield.

 Leaky dam taking shape

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.

If you are lucky enough find yourself on the road that leads to Roskilly's, for lunch or a delicious ice cream, you will probably be driving through an area of "wild land" known as Main Dale, this is part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.

You will see the land is strewn with Gabro boulders known locally as crusairs, how these boulders got here is a matter of great debate and geologists argue amongst themselves that they are either the result of soil erosion around the boulders or they slid here during the last ice age.

As well as the many shipwrecks found under the waves around the treacherous set of rocks off The Lizard Peninsula called The Manacles, there lies a huge variety of rich rocky reef communities, bright pink maerl beds and other sedimentary habitats. All of these support a diverse marine fauna including spiny lobsters, sea fan anemones, tiny stalked jellyfish and slow growing pink sea fans.

Jewel anemones on The Manacles-Angie Gall   Pink sea fan and bloody Henry starfish on The Manacles-Angie Gall

People who are lucky enough to have dived in and around The Manacles will appreciate why its high quality reefs were one of the reasons why this site was recommended as a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) last year. Intertidal habitats, including its rocky shore communities, were also proposed for protection in this site.
The Manacles reef-Rob Seebold Natural England