Predannack military signLast week I attended one of our biannual Predannack Airfield Conservation Committee meetings, representing the National Trust with our partners from Natural England and Cornwall Wildlife Trust, alongside the Royal Navy, DIO and others. It got me thinking as to how things have changed......

About fifteen years ago, I first attended a Predannack meeting in the air traffic control tower. How very out of place I felt, surrounded by men in uniform talking in acronyms, addressing each other by 'sir' and frankly showing dubious interest in wildlife or conservation. The 'War on Terror' had just started, Afghanistan was about to kick-off, and, understandably, defence of the realm gave priority over defence of a few rare plants.

WWII discoveries at Windmill Farm Nature Reserve

Pill boxesWe knew Windmill Farm Nature Reserve had WWII buildings scattered across the site associated with Predannack Airfield. The best preserved being the three Pill boxes situated near to the information centre, but it was not until we started to look more carefully at the hedgerows as part of our hedge laying and coppicing programme that we discovered more archaeological gems. Four more Pill boxes have been unearthed that we had no idea existed. Two of them sit side by side on a Cornish hedge. The Hedge was coppiced this winter and the Pillboxes can now see the light of day once more and look to be in excellent condition.

Published: April 2013
Author: Nick Marriott - Cornwall Wildlife Trust West Cornwall Reserves Manager