A collaboration of coast and countryside organisations on The Lizard Peninsula

A Winter amongst the Trees and Woods at Penrose

The 2018/19 winter season has been full of brilliant woodland and tree work across Penrose. With the help of many dedicated volunteers this winter existing woodland and orchards have been improved whilst new woodland strips and parkland trees have been planted.
We started the woodland season in Shadywalk Wood burning large piles of now dry laurel felled out the previous year, processing other timber and continuing the progress through the woods removing invasive species and thinning the densest areas to allow in more light. Already, this spring, we’re seeing the benefits; lots of new wildflower growth is slowly spreading into these areas.

Volunteers burning last year’s laurel in the woodVolunteers burning last year’s laurel in the woods

In the first couple of weeks of the New Year lots of woodland management was completed by the Woodland Volunteers, Conservation Volunteers and Lizard and Penrose Rangers in the woods behind the Walled Garden. The work focused on the removal of dangerous trees and invasive rhododendron, cherry laurel and hydrangea as well as clearing around an historic archway and thinning of sycamore regrowth. Lots of the brash has been neatly constructed into windrows offering good habitat to birds, mammals and insects.

Windrows in the late afternoon sunWindrows in the late afternoon sun

The Woodland Volunteers installed a tree guard - made from chestnut posts milled from a large chestnut tree which was blown over at Tremayne on the southern Helford - in the Penrose parkland. In the centre of the guard a Lucombe oak has been planted. Lucombe oaks are hybrids of Turkey and Cork oaks, two of which were planted at Penrose in the 1770s, around ten years after the hybrid was first discovered.

A year in the life of a National Trust pony

Grazing the heath at Beagles Grazing the heath at Beagles

The National Trust has had ponies here on the Lizard for over 20 years, grazing the coastal heaths and grasslands for the benefit of wildlife. Our original herd, now aged over 30, is still going strong, proving a life of sea air does you good! These purebred Shetland ponies came to us from Arlington Court, a National Trust estate in north Devon, where some of their old pals still live today.

Another Year nearly over and what a year!!!!

Grazing poniesThe year started with those incredible storms, and a lot of damage to coastal sites, land slips, beaches, popular with our summer visitors cleared of the sand –and then - WE HAD A SUMMER, the first proper summer for years, it was fantastic and the Lizard was transformed again with an amazing flowering season, and we here at NE managed to get work done that we had we planning for years, getting to parts of the NNR, that needed to be dry to carry out repairs to fencing and gates, we managed to get some species monitoring done, and our 11 graziers were able to get their stock out on time to help us manage the reserve.

Bumper Broods and New Nests for Choughs in Cornwall

chough image 2015 6 20150527 1895212043Teams of RSPB and National Trust volunteers have been watching chough nest sites across Cornwall again this spring. Despite a battering from some very strong and cold easterly winds, the 'Chough Watch' volunteers have put in many hours to make sure that disturbance around nest sites was kept to a minimum, and it has paid off!


Calling All Friends of Kennack Sands

Kennack Sands on The Lizard is one of our finest Cornish beaches. It is cherished by locals and visitors alike. In order to help safeguard this precious place, and to give people a stake in the ongoing management, we are meeting to form the Friends of Kennack Sands. We are calling all with an interest in the area to come along on Tuesday Jan 17th at Ruan Minor Village Hall at 7pm.Kennack Sands

Last summer the beach was thrown into a crisis when Cornwall Council withdrew the litter collection. Local interests worked hard to find a solution, and it was apparent how significant the beach is to so many residents. By forming the group we hope to capture some of that passion and give the local community a much greater sense of ownership of this beauty spot.

Calling Botanists for Survey Days in June Please

We are looking for botanists of all abilities to help with the first repeat of our 4-yearly quadrat survey on the Lizard National Nature Reserve. If you fancy getting involved in a few days of sun-drenched (not guaranteed), unique botanising (guaranteed) then this could be for you. It is a bit of a botanical jamboree with about 40 botanists taking part – half from Natural England and half local naturalists.

Since 2011 over 850 volunteers from NE and our partner organisations have participated in vegetation surveys on Long Term Monitoring Network (LTMN) sites. The Lizard NNR is part of this network and is due to be resurveyed this year from the 20th June – 23rd June (inclusive). The survey will help us to understand how changes in the natural environment relate to climate change, air pollution and land management and we'd like to invite you to take part.

Can you help a pony look after a Lizard?

Grazing ponies

Grazing animals have had a presence here on the Lizard since man’s earliest attempts to manage this unique landscape, and ponies have been part of that picture from the very beginning. Indeed, until the height of the tin mining industry here in Cornwall there was an indigenous breed of pony known as a ‘Goonhilly’ that could be found across the heaths and open spaces of the Lizard. Changes in industry swept away this native breed, just as later changes in agriculture swept away the centuries old local traditions of heathland and coastal grazing.

Exmoor pony

But in the past two decades these traditions have returned and once more taken centre stage in the successful management of the Lizard’s wild and special landscape.

Caring for the coast path

Out on the coastal path in Spring

The south west coast path traverses 600 miles of the UK's finest scenery. Walk the whole distance from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset and, with all those ups and downs, you will climb the equivalent of 4 times the height of Everest! Over half of the coast path is in the care of the National Trust, so naturally it features strongly in our work in the SW.

Here on the Lizard the National Trust cares for more than 10 miles of this well-loved trail. Work can be divided into routine maintenance, such as strimming and keeping drains flowing, and larger improvement projects. In the summer months just keeping on top of the strimming is a never ending task, tackled by staff, our regular volunteers, and contractors called in as reinforcements. More sheltered sections of the path require up to 3 cuts per year.

New boardwalk and stepping stones near Black Head, built by our Access Ranger and team of volunteers

Upgrading a footbridge