Wednesday, 15 December 2010


The National Trust is opening a dialogue with the local community, visitors and anyone with a love of and an interest in Britain’s most southerly point to see how we can work together on the future of Tregullas Farm at the Lizard. This is a new departure for us and one that I am really excited about, it's going to be really interesting to hear what people think about the farm on their doorstep, whether they want to get involved in its future, buy food from it or find a new use for some of the old buildings.

Throughout 2011 we will be holding a series of events, meetings and discussions to hear what the local community and others think and anyone can join in the debate on where comments can be posted or our online survey filled in..

We want to hear what is special about this land, what you would like to see grown here, whether you want to get involved in some way, and whether the Lizard community needs extra space, land or buildings to help it thrive. This might mean more space for wildlife or recreation, allotments or a community farm, or even a community renewable energy scheme. Read about the work we have already done about Tregullas Farm.

Opportunities like this don’t happen often – maybe just once in a generation – so this is your chance to get involved and shape the future of the farm.


Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Here at Loe Pool Helston and Gunwalloe is one of natures spectacles, just before dusk thousands of Starlings that arrive from Eastert Europe will form large clouds before coming into roost. This spectacular sight will continue until early February.
These rolling clouds of Starlings perform just before disappearing into thier roost

Clear calm days at dusk are the best time to see this incredible sight.

For more information
Steve 07876546401


Back in November a group of volunteers gave up thier sunday to help the wardens on the Penrose Estate in the removal of invasive species to encourage the recovery of Bluebells of which Penrose is renowned.

Working on the the woodland slope above Penrose creek it was one of those glorious Autumn days.

The next Woodland work party is on Sunday 16th January 10am-2pm
For more information contact
Dave 07879430703
Steve 07876545401

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Ken's Winter Work-outs!

Check out our events section on the right for information about "Ken's Winter Work-Outs", a great way to burn off the calories and give something back to the places you love. We've got everything from coppicing to bird box making, either way there is plenty to enjoy and get stuck into. All "Work-outs" start at 10am and go on until 3:30pm, you can come as go as you please though. Transport to all sites can be arranged if needed and Ken will provide tea, coffee, hot chocolate and soft drinks as well as mulled wine and mince pies around Christmas!

For more info, contact Ken on the details provided in each event summary. 

Friday, 26 November 2010

Spotters Spot

This rare albino Dunnock was seen on the south side of Loe Pool yesterday and this morning. This photograph was taken by our warden Dave while out looking for a recent reporting of a flock of Lapland Buntings, another rarity. We want to keep an eye on the Dunnock over the winter so if you see it while you're out in the area, let us know where and when.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Joining forces for wildlife

Twin headed clover, one of the species to benefit from our work

Yesterday a dozen hardy souls keen to lend a hand for wildlife, braved some sharp rain and hail showers, to join forces in making a difference for wildlife on the Lizard. The poor weather didn’t dent enthusiasm and we succeeded in completing our goal, which was to clear a ring of gorse threatening to overshadow a rocky knoll which is home to some truly unusual plants, including the rare wild chives, the tiny 1cm high dwarf rush, the strange grass-like fern land quillwort, and the aptly named twin-headed clover. The Lizard has long been famed for its unusual plants, and is one of the top botanical spots in the country, with several species such as land quillwort found nowhere else on mainland Britain

Volunteers cutting gorse

Whilst much has been achieved for wildlife on the Lizard, there are still plenty of places where rare plants need a helping hand. This site, which is in private ownership near Kynance, is a real botanical gem, and we are pleased that by combining our resources with the in-depth knowledge of local botanists, and the support of the landowner, we've been able to make a real difference to the fortunes of some of our rarest species.

The work party included National Trust and Natural England staff and volunteers, Botanical Cornwall Group Members, and local residents keen to get involved. Thanks to all who helped out.


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Dirty weekend update.

Despite the rain, about 25 people braved the elements to join us in a weekend of wood turning, coppicing, whittling and charcoal making in Tremayne Woods on the Helford, with many of us camping out on the Saturday night. The weekend was a great excuse to get very wet and muddy whilst learning some traditional woodland crafts.

The first job was loading up the charcoal kiln and lighting it. The kiln needed to burn for almost 24 hours before it could be emptied. However due to the very damp conditions we could have done with leaving it quite a bit longer as not all the wood had completely turned to charcoal.

We then spent some time helping in the traditional and sustainable practice of coppicing. This technique of cutting the trees at ground level takes advantage of the fact that many species of tree will regrow from the cut stump. Woodlands have been managed in this way for many thousands of years, but the practice has recently fallen out of favour due to the cheap import of timber from overseas. Rotationally coppiced woodlands support a huge variety of wildlife and the product, nice straight hazel poles, make ideal bean poles and fantastic charcoal.

We then learnt some traditional bodging skills. Bodging is a traditional craft, using green or unseasoned wood, turned on a traditional foot powered pole lathe. Until the middle of the last century, thousands of chair legs and backs were turned on these lathes by bodgers holed up in their woodland hovels famously for the Windsor Chair industry. Nowadays, mechanisation of the industry has all but killed this ancient craft. However, it is still a remarkably therapeutic and satisfying craft and some wonderful candlesticks, egg cups and stool legs were turned on the lathes during the weekend by our budding bodgers.

Participants also learnt how to whittle a spoon, cleave chestnut and use a shave horse. One young girl made herself a beautiful three legged stool from cleft chestnut and turned holly. Another young lad made his dad a spoon for Christmas and many other wonderful things were made, and skills learnt.

Justin and the Lizard team
and thanks to Rose Ashley for the photos

More photos to follow.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Fancy a dirty weekend in the woods?


 You are invited to join us for a ‘dirty weekend’ on 13 and 14 November. Don’t worry, there’s nothing dodgy or suspicious about this event, just an opportunity to get dirty learning some traditional woodland crafts; making charcoal, trying your hands at bodging and helping the wardens with some coppice management. The dirty weekend is happening at Tremayne Woods near Gear Farm on the Lizard

We'll be loading the charcoal kiln on Saturday with sustainably produced wood from the coppiced woodland. Participants will then learn how to use a pole lathe and shave horse whilst helping the wardening staff with coppicing some of the woodland. The charcoal kiln will burn all night before being unloaded on Sunday.

On Sunday we'll practice our green woodwork skills (maybe take home a candle stick or even a stool?)before the charcoal is tested on a well earned BBQ. Camping is optional on the Saturday night. Cost of the event is £10 per day, or £15 for the weekend.  Please get in touch with me at for more information, or give me a call 01326 240282.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Prince's Trust

The Prince's Trust Cornwall College have been working with David and Steve the Wardens on the  Penrose Estate  clearing and burning  scrub to give alternative access around a wet and muddy area along the footpath at Carminowe Creek

Paul Hawken and  the team worked for 5 days over the last 3 weeks learning new skills in conservation and access whilst improving  public enjoyment of the aera as part of their Prince's Trust City & Guilds Award and certificate in Personal Development and Contributing to the Community


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Girls just wanna have fun!!!!

During the half term holidays, the National Trust on the Lizard was involved in an innovative project specifically for girls. In partnership with the Eden Project, and funded through Cornwall Council, we invited girls of all ages to spend two days camping in Tremayne Woods on the Helford river. Girls are particularly discriminated against when it comes to adventurous play, and are often left sidelined when boys are playing alongside. For this reason, the event was limited only to girls (and their mums). Over twenty girls aged from 5 yrs to 13 yrs attended the event, for some their first ever time camping.

We spent the first day building dens (which some of the girls slept in overnight!!) before we gave them a load of nets, ropes and swings to create their own adventure playground in the trees.  

We then showed the girls how to make fire (without matches!) before they cooked their supper on the campfire. After roasting marshmallows we took them on a night walk in the forest to test their bravery (it was quite scary even for the adults!).

After a very sound sleep under canvas and their dens, and a breakfast cooked on the fire, we took the children down to the river where their task was to build rafts and row them out into the river. Great fun and all of the girls rose to the challenge.

Whilst the whole event was very carefully managed, it was heartening to see that this kind of event doesn't need to get bogged down in H&S red tape and unwieldy risk assessments. The kids were given the freedom to explore their own limits, discover the risks for themselves and push themselves beyond their own comfort zones. And of course, there were no incidents, no accidents, not even any tears. Everyone got very muddy, wet and tired, and had the most fantastic time!

As part of the project, we interviewed the children about what they wanted from the outdoors, and what barriers they felt were in their way. Their responses were videoed and this valuable information can now be used to encourage further debate about how the outdoors is perceived. For this particular group of girls, their love affair with the countryside has certainly been rekindled!

A big thankyou to the Eden team and Cornwall Council for making this event possible!!


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Autumn's here - come and enjoy it !

The weather is a bit wilder today, but the trees are still changing colour and the woods look amazing.

Tremayne oaks
Living here I guess it can be easy to sometimes take things for granted but last weekend we had two brilliant walks that really made me think about what's on my doorstep. 

Firstly at Tremayne on the Helford River, loads of wildlife - egrets, herons and a close fly-by from a Sparrowhawk. But the best bit was the Sweet Chestnuts - perhaps we have last winter's cold spell to thank ? - but we came back with a big bag of really plump chestnuts that went straight into the oven before being greedily devoured for tea.

Then Penrose on Sunday, a walk from the Parkland to Loe Bar, dodging the showers but burning a few calories along the way with regualr stop offs on the Trust's Green Gym. And as you can see from the photos, you are never too young to start learning !
Where next ?

There are over 5 miles of footpaths in and around the Penrose Estate, loads of it through a great variety of woodlands and car parks at the Amenity Area, Degibna and Penrose Hill. And on the south coast of the Helford River places like Tremayne and Frenchmans Creek provide some of the only opportunities where you can get close up and alongside this amazing place.

So whether it's a bit of birdwatching, a stroll with some friends, a jog or a bit of forraging, come and enjoy - whatever the season - and remember to tell us what you think.


Monday, 1 November 2010

Is it a strawberry?

This was just one of the scary (if giant fruit terrifies you) creations at our recent well attended half-term Hallowe'en lantern making workshop at Poltesco. Glue and glitter were flying as witches' hats, pyramids, ghosts and even a dog were shaped from nothing more than withies from the hedgerows, masking tape and tissue paper. Anything's possible with a bit of imagination!


Thursday, 28 October 2010

Truro College Scrub Up Well

Truro College Students at Poltesco
60 students joined us recently to remove scrub from the cliffs at Predannack,Chynalls Point and Poltesco as part of a residential visit. The students got involved as part of their International Baccalaureate Qualification, adding to the community hours required in their studies. It was also a great opportunity for them to get to know each other and to work as a team in a different setting to the classroom.The Two days proved to be a great success for the students and The National Trust with some extensive scrub removal achieved , the results of this hard work will benefit  wildlife, better Public access and Archeology and at the same time gave the students a better understanding of the Trust's work. 

Burning up
During the days at Chynalls Point an old stone field boundary was uncovered which had been completely covered for many years and may be with further investigation part of the old Bronze Age Fort  The next step here is to get it surveyed. Many thanks to all who were involved.


North Lizard Warden

Friday, 22 October 2010

Half term events coming up

Check out our list of half term events next week, you can join the Trust or one of our working partnerships for something exciting to do nearly every day!

Bush Craft Day - Tuesday 26th October at Bochym.
In conjuction with Natural England, more details to follow or call 01326 240 282 for information.

Adventure Day For Girls - Wednesday and Thursday 27th/28th October at Tremayne woods.
In partnership with the Eden Project, we will be building shelters, making rafts and cokking on the campfire in the woods. Camp overnight if you dare! For info and bookings call  01726 818888 or email

Hallowe'en Latern Workshop - Friday 29th Oct Poltesco.
Make scary laterns from willow and tissue paper in Poltesco education room. 1-4pm. For info tel. 01326 240282
Child £2.50

Mega Scrub Bash - Saturday 30th October Predannack
On Make a Difference Day (MADD), lets go mad and clear some of the scrub from the cliffs for the local wildlife. Spuds and sausages on the fire afterwards. For info call 01326 240282

Penrose Woodland Walk -  Sunday 31st October Penrose
Gentle walk to find out more about our winter work, including tree inspections and using wood chips as heating fuel. For a place on the walk please call: 07879430703

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

College visits Penrose

Over 10 days in fair weather and foul,year 8 students from Helston Community College have been coming to Penrose to discover how the woodlands are managed.

Actually, the day starts 1000 years ago, with an insight into the way the Anglo Saxons used trees in their everyday life.  Along their journey from that time to this, under the falling Autumn leaves they have discovered the different attitudies of the Saxons to the "salwe",the"dark" tree they mistrusted and of the Cornish to the "heligan", the "singing tree". They are both names for the Willow of course.

But then everything about the has been to do with looking afresh at the familier. A dead pine tree? Wait till you hear the storey of David Douglas who discovered it, or come up against a native Amercan "Anayupt?", or how he met Ned Gurney, that bull catahing ex convict.  Woodchip? Well you need to know how to fell the tree first, and what better then a demonstration by myself and Steve, the Penrose Wardens who still use the language of 1000 years ago.

Nearly 300 students have come over the past 10 days as a joint English/Drama venture. They will use it to create their own work, and prehaps have learnt how the National Trust is reducing its carbon footprint at Penrose, by joining the techiques of the past with mondern technology

So if you want to know anything about woodland, year 8 at Helston College are the experts.

We would like to thank Pippa Reynard From Helston College for her help in organising the days and Mark Haradon [captain of the West] for his fantastic storey telling skills.


Sunday, 17 October 2010

Half Term Adventures

This half term the National Trust are running a series of exciting activities for kids of all ages. 
 There really is no reason to be bored!!


Fungal foray

Today I was joined by about 30 foragers on our first NT fungal foray around Tremayne Woods.  Weeks of very dry weather however meant I wasn't too hopeful of finding many interesting mushrooms, as fungi tend to favour damp muggy autumns.  Over the past few days I had scouted around some of my best foraging haunts so at least I'd have some specimens to show, but even some of my most guaranteed spots were free of any fungi.   Never mind, we were blessed with glorious weather for the walk so whilst we may not find any mushrooms, at least we'd all have a pleasant walk in the woods.

After meeting at Gear Farm and ordering our pasties, we walked down into the woods.  Whilst fungi were certainly thin on the ground, it wasn't long before our trugs and baskets began to be filled with a vast array of specimens.  Some of the younger members of the group scrambled up and down the banks to get the more inaccessible ones, whilst others spread out either side of the track searching the woodland floor and on the trunks of trees.

Most of the fungi gathered were of little culinary interest, including honey fungus, earth balls, sulphur tuft and various small non-descript specimens.  However, a few edible species were found, including shaggy parasols, amethyst deceivers, a wonderful beefsteak fungus and a single small cep.

By lunchtime we had reached a clearing at Point Field where we investigated our hoard and waited for delivery of the pasties.  Still not really enough edible varieties to feed the whole group however.  I then remembered a secret spot nearby which had never previously let me down.  A quick scramble down the bank, under a large beech tree were half a dozen very large ceps. 

We cooked a small variety of the mushrooms on a camping stove. Most of the group were brave enough to give them a try, others perhaps didn't have quite enough confidence in my identification skills!     The pasties went down well anyway.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

"Please Sir, can I have some more?" Mullion Soup Kitchen

Chopping the vegetables

Apparently, many children in Britain today are completely unaware as to where their food comes from. Milk comes from a bottle on a supermarket shelf, meat from vacuum packed plastic packets and soup comes from a tin.

As part of the Mullion CP School’s Wildchild gardening Club, I have been very keen on re-establishing the link between what we grow and the food we eat. “From Plot to plate” as they say.
Last Friday, we finally got around to turning some of our autumnal harvest into soup. Real soup.

A large pumpkin, onions, leeks, potatoes and a couple of very large courgettes, all grown by the young Mullion gardeners, were chopped up by the children and turned into the most delicious wholesome soup. The only addition was some cumin, which the children dry-roasted and crushed in a pestle and mortar.

Robin and Jonathon collecting some extra leeks

Sam and Jonathon stiring the soup.

There was so much soup that I really though we would have enough to bring into school and share with their classmates on Monday morning. However, I didn’t count on the fact that these kids really loved their soup, (to the extent that one young gardener had 5 bowls of it!!! ) and a few teachers obviously caught a scent of the lovely aromas coming from the kitchen and wandered in to share it with us. The whole pan was wiped clean, not a morsel was left! 

Next week we'll be clearing out the wildlife pond and preparing the vegetable beds for winter.  Happy gardening


Not a morsel was left!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Giant strides for Landewednack School

Walking the causeway
Class 1 from Landewednack School enjoyed a sunny and fun packed day out on St Michael’s Mount yesterday, courtesy of The National Trust’s Guardianship Scheme. The class learned about islands, and were treated to tales by professional storyteller Mark Harandon, Captain of the West. He enthralled the children with the Cornish legend of St Michael’s Mount’s own terrorising giant Cormoran who carried cattle away dangling from his belt, and who was eventually killed by plucky local lad Jack the Giant Killer, who went on to greater beanstalk fame. The giant’s heart turned to stone, which can still be found set into the path to the castle, so it must be true!

By my calculations Penzance is in range
Class 1 loved manning the cannons, and explored the Castle with guide Catriona, who explained all about the armour, portcullis, and Giant’s spoons, not to mention the mummified cat!

For those children who have just begun school in the last few weeks, even the bus journey was a brand new exciting experience it itself.

Tall tales of giant slaying

The visit was organised as part of an ongoing Guardianship Scheme, which has fostered close links between Landewednack School and the National Trust staff locally for fifteen years. The partnership is focussed on our nature garden at the Waterings, within walking distance of the school, but each year we also try to visit Poltesco to go rockpooling and explore National Trust properties further afield, with visits to Godolphin and Lanhydrock, as well as St Michael's Mount.


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

John and David, batmen of Grochall

Watch where you're putting that drill!

Volunteers David and Kathryn Issitt and John and Brenda Lancaster have been hard at work on our newest nature reserve at Grochall, just a stones throw from where they live at Mile End, Lizard. We bought 44 acres of farmland here last December, thanks to the generosity of Elisabeth Lee, who left a legacy for the purchase of a nature reserve in Cornwall. The land here fitted the bill perfectly, being rich in wildlife, such as nesting barn owls, ponds and heathland, and being nestled between two nature reserves, Natural England's Lizard Downs to the South, and Windmill Farm (jointly owned by Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Cornwall Bird Watching Preservation Society) to the North, opening up all sorts of opportunities for linking access and wildlife friendly management.

Bat boxes ready for action
David and Kathryn, and John and Brenda, ever enthusiastic, have helped with all sorts of tasks from planting apple trees, to daily checks of our ponies and cows, but their latest project is bat based! Our bat expert advised, that although, with thick hedges and wildlife friendly margins meaning lots of good feeding habitat for bats, without old buildings and trees, roost sites are limited at Grochall. That's where David and John, drill and screwdriver in hand, stepped in to leave our bats (probably mainly pipistrelles) spoiled for choice when it comes to designer homes. Meet the Kent Bat Group Bat Box! David and John have made 7 of these boxes, complete with narrow voids which bats can crawl into, to feel secure as they rest in the day, which are now fixed to a new barn. A borrowed bat detector has shown that our nocturnal friends have been out and about, and we hope its only a matter of time before they move in. Thanks to David, John, Kathryn and Brenda for all their hard work at Grochall.


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Swallows Sign the End of Summer

So many of our migrant birds have already moved south for the winter and large gathering of Swallows are lining telegraph wires everywhere, a sure sign that summer is coming to an end.  

 There are still plenty of birds to be found on the peninsula however, tail patterns of Wheatear's and Whinchat's can be seen as thay feed on the edge of the heath and along the coast. Or in the sheltered wooded valleys you may be lucky to see a Spotted Fly Catcher show boating the real art of catching insects in flight. 

This photograph of a Sandwich Terns diving from height catching sand eels around the sheltered bays of the Lizard was taken last week and this gem of a rarity, the Red Backed Shrike, was seen just last weekend in the scrub along the Kynance toll road enjoying some late September sun.

Happy Birding. 


Monday, 27 September 2010

Mullion CP School Gardening Club

“I don’t like green beans!” said one young gardener as we started harvesting the fruits of our labour during last week’s gardening club. Five minutes later he was munching away on freshly picked sweet and crunchy beans, straight from the plant. These beans were a far cry from the limp and stringy variety found on supermarket shelves.   

After a long week of meetings and general office work, I really look forward to our Friday afternoon Gardening Club at Mullion CP School. I’ve been running the club with help from Mullion in Bloom and Mullion Horticultural Society volunteers for the past few months. With a group of up to 15 young gardeners, we have been growing our own fruit and vegetables, planting trees around the school grounds and generally improving the school for the benefit of both children and wildlife.

Spring term is the really busy time, when all the beds are prepared, seeds sown and weeds pulled. By the end of term the first crops were being harvested (or in the case of strawberries, just eaten at break time). During the long summer holidays, one of our young gardeners (and her granny) kept an eye on the garden, watered the beds and harvested the vegetables (courgettes, beans, cabbages etc) which she sold outside her gate. She raised over £50!!!

Last Friday, we cleared one of the beds.
Red and purple potatoes were dug, runner beans picked (and eaten), leeks pulled and
a few overgrown courgettes and a giant pumpkin were discovered. We then dug over the bed and sowed some rocket which should mature before winter sets in. We were planning to turn the harvest into soup, but the enthusiasm of the kids took over and we spent too much time harvesting. The plan is to join forces with the school cookery club and make soup this week instead.

The club will continue through the winter, with the next project to sort out the wildlife garden and pond.  Through the sale of vegetables, together with a few kind donations has enabled the club to buy its own poly-tunnel, so next year we’ll be able to grow even more vegetables all year round.   Our ultimate goal is to transform the school dinners with more crunchy green beans and other wholesome fruit and veg.

Happy gardening


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