A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

The question that faces those working to conserve the Lizard is what are the impacts of these sports on wildlife, ecology and indeed the general character of the area? How are these impacts perceived by different stakeholders, and can these perceptions be managed to allow these sports to continue? What regulation is in place to limit the impacts of these sports and what challenges do these regulations face? I am a master's student at the University of Exeter and the aim of my dissertation is to answer, or rather attempt to answer, some of these questions. Over the past few months I have been working with a variety of people from both conservation groups and also representatives from adventure sport providers to investigate the issues both parties face from a third party, independent point of view. I have also worked with the newly formed Cornwall Outdoor Charter Group, an organisation which aims to put in place codes of conduct for outdoor sports to abide by (with the help of conservation bodies) and have observed the formation of the group and the difficulties they have come across in doing this. Recently I went kayaking with Lizard Adventure and experienced first-hand why these sports are so popular.

Although my research will not be able to give definitive answers to any of the above questions, I am hoping that I will be able to open up conversation between conservation groups and adventure sports providers and highlight the common interests these two seemingly opposite parties have. The environment is the fundamental resource which is at the heart of what both groups rely on in their day to day operations, and both want it to be used sustainably so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come. Although my dissertation is still two months from being published I can already see that education needs to be the number one priority to ensure that this happens. By educating about the dangers their actions can have, these adventure sports could develop into environmentally sustainable methods for people to get closer to nature.

Published: July 2014
Author: Holly Pretious, MSc Sustainable Development, University of Exeter

Click here for more articles about conservation work on the Lizard.