Thursday, 8 December 2011

Local lads muck-in to improve access at Penrose

On Wednesday this week a group of Helston Community College students arrived at Penrose with a mission; continue their fantastic work upgrading the pathways, to allow access particularly for Motorbility Scooters, pushchairs and prams.

The boys, who were supervised and led by officers from RNAS Culdrose, Lt Neil Laing and Firefighter Mark Skinner, were members of the Phoenix Project, a partnership between Helston College, Culdrose and the National Trust, which enables students to learn the value of contributing to the community.

This week the boys were continuing the work to dig out and lay a wheelchair grade path, to allow users to reach parts of Penrose that were previously inaccesssible.
Karen Harvey, Student Support Officer with the college, was really pleased with the progress made by the boys.    " They have come on in leaps and bounds since they started working with the Trust so its a project that benefits us all".

The boys will continue working on the path after Christmas and will also be working to restore a pond and build a bench.


Monday, 5 December 2011

conservation capers on the cober

For some weeks now, walkers along a
popular stretch of the river cober at
penrose have had to 'mind the gap'.

This is because several sections of the river bank footpath have badly eroded, creating large holes that pose a problem for walkers, cyclists, wheelchair and pushchair users.

To overcome this problem a hardy team of volunteers and staff, braved the drizzle and armed only with bowsaws, billhooks and packets of biscuits they constructed living willow fences, designed to prevent unplanned swimming lessons and to look beautiful.

In time, it is hoped that the planted willow posts will take root and stabilise the riverbank.


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Working with our Ambassador Businesses

For the past year or so we've been working with a couple of local activity providers to offer more for our visitors to enjoy on the Lizard. We are pleased to announce that we are going to continue working closely with Lizard Adventure and the Dan Joel Surf School in 2012 as our Ambassador Businesses. 

Being an Ambassador Business means we work together to provide exciting joint events and educational experiences as well as the thrill of trying something new and exciting as we encourage more people to love the outdoors like we do. We aim to teach people through our ambassador businesses about the coast and countryside and the work we do to keep it so special. We also try and raise awareness of conservation issues and subjects like beach litter through local community events and working with school groups. 

JP from Lizard Adventure says:

"Firstly, let me just say that it is a privilege to be an ambassador business for the National Trust.

The values for Lizard Adventure are such that we aim for a long term sustainable future with sustainable growth though delivery of a high quality guided experiences.  This can only be done through working with the National Trust who share similar values.

When we meet and greet our clients we inform them of this relationship.  It adds value to their experience as they understand that they are able to enjoy their guided experience more easily in areas that they may not normally have access to.  They also smile when they get told that part of what they pay us goes back to the National Trust in order to support preservation and maintenance of these special places."

Dan Joel says: 

"I am extremely excited to now be working with the National Trust in a professional capacity with the running of my Surf School business. 2012 will be the second year of working together to allow the general public to experience the thrills of surfing in a safe, relaxed and friendly environment to the beautiful backdrop of Poldhu beach. To be working at such a wonderful location, and indroducing the sport which I am so passionate about to people means a lot to me and I struggle to think of a more satisfying vocation. 

Having been a National Trust surf ambassador for several years, I am very aware of the excellent work the National Trust does to help preserve and protect the coastline which we hold so dear. Our beautiful cliffs and beaches are integral to the sport of surfing and with help from the Trust we can leave our precious coastline in a fit state for future generations to inherit. "


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Little nippers get muddy at Degibna woods

Degibna Woods at Penrose echoed to the sounds of 25 little voices as the youngest members of Nansloe Academy (aged 4 and 5 years old) explored on Friday morning.

With a remit to ‘get muddy and enjoy it’ from Teacher Steve Osborne, the youngsters really made the most of their morning, splashing in the stream, wading through the mud and finishing it all off with a welcome cup of hot chocolate.

Even with a full curriculum Steve maintains that it is important for the children to have free time to explore at their own pace and without a prescribed outcome to the activity.

The school will be continuing to use Penrose for its activities with more classes getting outdoors to explore and broaden their curriculum in future.


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Volunteers take it one step at a time

The Trust’s Lizard volunteers were up at Penrose this week working to replace an old flight of steps that link    the car park to the estate.

Greg, Paul, Pete and Rob showed their carpentry credentials and the rotten old steps were replaced in no time at all with a perfect flight, that wouldn’t look out of place in Penrose House itself!

The replacement of these steps is just part of the improvement to the infrastructure to the estate that will take place over the coming years. The footpath signs and information boards will also be rationalised and updated.



There will be more joint working days between Lizard and Penrose teams in future, making the most of the team’s skills and offering the chance to work across a wider range of projects and settings.

If you are interested in joining us for volunteer work, then give us a call on 01326 561407 and we’d be delighted to get you involved.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Frightful Times at Poltesco

Half-term proved busy at Poltesco. Kids of all ages were to be found solving an egg thief mystery, dissecting owl pellets and/or getting covered in glue!

For 3 days we played host to the BBC Live 'n' Deadly Detectives Trail, organised jointly with Natural England. This involved searching out 7 clues, to solve the mystery of who or what had eaten a clutch of eggs. 100 kids took the challenge over the 3 days, earning themselves a badge and a passcode for the BBC's online Live 'n' Deadly game. Also on offer was the chance to make clay animal paw prints, and to dissect owl pellets. Thanks to Claire from NE and her vol team for their work in making these days a great success.

On friday, later in half-term week, 10 families joined us in the sunshine in the yard for a scary mask and halloween lantern workshop. For the lanterns, a frame is first made out of elm and dogwood shoots harvested from the valley, held together with tape.

Wouldn't like to meet him on a dark night!

Things then get messy, as the frame is covered in several layers of wet strength tissue paper soaked in dilute PVA glue. Finally add some decoration and colour if desired, or sandwich some leaves between the layers. Then the biggest challenge. Try to get it home without dripping all over the car!  Rachel

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Pond dippers make a splash!

We joined forces with Cornwall Neighbourhoods 4 Change (CN4C) in the half term for peek at the wildlife in Loe Pool. The participants found a variety of pond life including water shrimps, mayfly larvae and water snails. One of the more exciting discoveries was a common darter dragonfly, easily recognisable by its bright red body.

Karen Llewellyn from CN4C said: “It was a fantastic day, with the children and parents really getting involved. Cornwall Neighbourhoods 4 Change (CN4C) and the National Trust are developing a great working partnership and if the Pond Dipping is anything to go by there will be plenty of fun wildlife events in the future for everyone to enjoy.” We also teamed up with Trudy Russell from the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) who is encouraging more people to explore nature. Trudy supplied microscopes for everyone to get a closer look at the slimy creatures we uncovered in the pool.

Keep checking the blog to hear more about upcoming activities. Access to the pond dipping site by kind permission of the Trustees of Penrose Estate.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

An ancient site is revealed by LAN volunteers

A big thank you to the Lizard Ancient Sites Network (LAN) volunteers who are helping to open access to an historic mill at Carminowe Creek on the Penrose estate, pictured here with Ranger Nick Gordon.  

The mill, which dates back to the early 14th Century, has become very overgrown by vegetation, paticularly brambles and blackthorn- all the prickliest plants! Our efforts have mainly been focussed on an old leat, which used to carry water to the wheel of the mill.

If you happen to find yourself walking past Carminowe Creek, why not wander through the leat and discover the old mill workings. You should find the old blocks of granite that used to hold the wheel and a lovely slate wall which used to be part of the mill buildings.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Kehelland School take the golf ball helter skelter challenge

20 pupils from Kehelland School joined us last week, for a sunny morning exploring Kynance Cove. The class was down staying at Lizard YHA overnight, and they also took a tour of the Lighthouse. The trip was all the more exciting for being the first night away with school for many of the kids, and certainly the first night any of them had experienced trying to sleep next door to a foghorn!

The first challenge at Kynance, was to successfully navigate our way from the carpark to the cove, solving clues as we went as part of a treasure trail. Topics covered ranged from choughs and rare heathers, to the local serpentine rock and the photovoltaic slates on the cafe roof. We also met the Ruby Red cattle that have been grazing the cliffs for the last two summers, and saw the great work they've been doing munching for wildlife.

Once at the beach, the kids were set the golf ball helter skelter challenge. Yes build your golf ball a helter skelter from nothing more than sand! The kids soon got stuck into the task in hand, learning about friction and centrifugal forces as they went. All was rounded off with a picnic on the beach. Is it really October!


Friday, 14 October 2011

Four Schools Funday Beach Extravaganza!

Anyone taking a walk at Kennack Sands on the Lizard one Thursday recently was greeted by the unusual sight of a giant sand sea serpent, complete with boulders for its eyes, and a stony spine decorated with 200 flags! The 50 metre sculpture was the combined handiwork of four Lizard Primary Schools who came together for a day of fun on the beach, to celebrate their new partnership under shared Headteacher Tom Harman.

All 200 Coverack, Grade-Ruan, Manaccan, and St Keverne Primary Schools pupils were treated to a day of beach activities and games, courtesy of Natural England and the National Trust Lizard Ranger Team who jointly organised the day held at Kennack Sands, which is part of the Lizard National Nature Reserve.

 The day began with a giant Mexican Wave, with added woosh sound effects! The kids were then divided into four groups by age, giving plenty of opportunities for new friendships to be made across the schools. As well as building the giant sand sculpture with wheelbarrows and spades, every child printed their own marine themed flag, and got to play parachute games on the beach. Professional storyteller Mark Harandon enthralled his audiences, gathered in a hollow in the dunes, with tales of the infamous pirate Captain Avery and rumours of long-lost treasure. During the afternoon, Sky High Photography flew a silent battery powered model airplane high over the beach to take pictures to capture the sculpture, before the tide came in and the sand was reclaimed by the sea.

We were so pleased all went well, and it was a great way to celebrate the start of the 4 Schools Partnership under shared Head Tom Harman. This partnership is unique within Cornwall, and was very much heralded by the need to protect small schools and the communities they serve.

We did it! All the NT and NE staff and vols who made the day possible
We can't pretend that the day wasn't great fun for us too! Both ourselves and Natural England do lots of work with schools locally, but it’s usually just a class at a time, not four whole schools at once! It was quite a feat for Claire from NE and I to organise a day on such a scale, and we would like to thank all of our dedicated volunteers who started at dawn to help us make this the success it has been. They’ve been involved in everything from sewing the flags, to erecting the marquee, and helping shape the sand serpent. Special thanks too to Sky High Photography for donating their services.
            Bird's eye view courtesy of Sky High Photography

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Get out, muck in!

The first of our 'Get out and muck in!' events was held in the woods at Poltesco on Saturday. The day involved learning the process of safely felling trees with hand tools and helping the rangers with some important woodland management. We had some fantastic help, including that of a very small pair of hands, and created more room for some of the trees to mature.

These series of upcoming events are aimed at everyone and are about getting out and about, meeting some new friends and doing your bit for the important wildlife on the Lizard Peninsula. The activities will range from cutting heathland scrub to weaving your own birdbox out of hedgerow materials, there is something for everyone.

A full timetable is on its way but for now why not come along to the mega scrub bash at Predannack on the 29th Oct for 'Make A Difference Day', bring something to cook on the fire for lunch. 10-3pm meet at Predannack car park, tel: 01326 291174 for more info.


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

That's a job for the military

Many thanks to our friends in the Army, for their recent work with us. Travelling down from their base in Wiltshire, the group spent a week out and about giving Lizard Ranger Nigel Cook a hand, and made short work of anything they tackled, from demolishing a derelict barn, to extracting timber from the woods. Here they are pictured at Grochall, with a newly completed section of post and rail fencing. The spirit level says yes!


Women in Wellies get bushcrafty!

Who are Women in Wellies I hear you ask! Well, they are a friendly group of ladies who live in the various villages of the Lizard Peninsula, and who get together occasionally for a natter and to learn new skills. Wellies often handy but not essential!

This merry band of intrepid adventurers joined us recently for an evening of green woodworking and bushcraft skills in the orchard at Poltesco. First up was spoon carving from green ash. Okay perhaps Ray Mears would say the work-mate is cheating, but it certainly helps in shaping a spoon blank!

Next on the cards was a go on a pole lathe, traditionally used for 'bodging' chair legs and other turned pieces in the woods.

Making gypsy flowers proved popular, using a shave horse ad a draw knife to fashion a flower by cutting thin slithers from hazel rods.

And then for anyone with plenty of patience, there's making natural cord from nothing more than nettles. First you have to strip the leaves, then soften the stems and split away the useful outer fibres from the inner pith. A bit of twisting with a special knack, and hey presto, a piece of string!
If you'd like to find out more about Women in Wellies then please get in touch for contact details.

We'd be delighted to offer similar bushcrafty sessions for other community groups, so let us know if we can help.


What egg-axtly is that?

You may have noticed a rather large egg appear on the cliffs at Predannack this week, but do not fear, no prehistoic creature has emerged from it yet. The 'Egg' together with dozens of Tibetan flags is a 10 day art installation by German artist Christian Elster called the 'Innermost at the outmost'.

Elle Parsons, National Trust Ranger and William Watson, local farmer took on the rather unusual challenge of transporting the 500kg egg and its dozens of flags out to the rocky headland on the cliffs last week. After precariously loading the egg onto the front loader of the tractor and some very careful driving skills, it arrived safely to its site.

The installation is now fully in place and will remain up for another week, it is well worth a look and don't be afraid to sit in the egg and take in the atmosphere, I can assure you it is quite secure!

For more information on his work visit 


A hungry visitor

This Snow Bunting was found rather off course on the cliffs at Predannack last week. A winter visitor to Scotland and Eastern Britain, the Snow Bunting mainly resides in Greenland and Scandinavia with a small number breeding in Scotland, making it an Amber listed species in the UK.

Feeling Rather tired and hungry, this fellow decided the cliffs at Predannack would be a good place stop allowing Phillipa Sheldrake, visitor to the area, to take this rather fantastic photo.

We love to hear about wildlife sightings in the area and photos are also helpful for the record, so please do send them in.

Best of luck to the Snow Bunting finding his way home!


Monday, 26 September 2011

The Little Big Gig!

Its been a busy summer for festivals this year for the Lizard team. This time it was the Little Big Gig at Henry's campsite in Lizard village. Despite the rather wet start and end to the weekend, the festival put on a great line up in a beautiful and creative setting. It was the first year for this small festival but with a great freindly atmosphere and turn out we hope we will be attending it again next year.

We put on green woodworking workshops throughout the weekend which attracted many folk keen to try their hand at the craft, from novice children to some real experts, even the chickens looked intrigued! We also provided some fun and games including soft darts and splat the rat who was a real hit, and came off lightly with just a small plaster to the head.

Keep tuned in for our future green woodworking events throughout the winter.


Monday, 19 September 2011

Join our campaign!

You may have seen that we have launched a campaign to raise objections to the Government’s proposed changes to the planning system in England, as set out in the draft National Planning Policy Framework. This was launched for consultation on 25 July, with the consultation due to close on 17 October.

For decades the planning system has guided development to the places that need it. It has protected open countryside, prevented sprawl and safeguarded the historic character of our cities, towns and villages.

But now, through its draft National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) published in July, the Government wants to change the planning system into a tool to promote economic growth above all else. Let me stress that the National Trust does support the need for economic growth – just not at any cost.

We believe that these changes, which are supposedly in the public interest, come at far too high a price. They put at serious risk so much that we all love and treasure. Here are just two reasons why:
• The removal of much detailed guidance to local authorities leaves too much power in the hands of developers who will only need to show that their proposals will deliver growth for other important considerations (such as the impact on communities, nature and landscape) to be pushed aside.
• Local people will have to rely on local or neighbourhood development plans to protect what they treasure and shape where development should go. Only half of local authorities have such plans in place. Where there are no plans there will be a presumption that development will proceed, unless local people can find the resources and specialist knowledge to prove that it will cause significant harm. In practice, the dice are heavily loaded to favour development.
With these changes comes a huge risk to our countryside, historic environment and the precious local places that are so important for us all. The planning reforms could lead to unchecked and damaging development on a scale not seen since the 1930s.

Time is of the essence - these proposals are being consulted on right now (the deadline is 17 October). We need your help in calling on Government to think again about the wisdom of this approach. Here are some ways you can support the campaign:

• Please sign our petition to the government – and encourage others to do so. You can find the petition online at or
• Send a letter to your MP urging them to re-think the planning reforms. You can also find details of how to do this on the website.
• Write to your local newspaper highlighting the issue.

Thank you so much for your support on this pressing issue. Our fear is that the planning system is being weighted too heavily towards the interests of economic growth, and that people and landscapes will suffer as a consequence.

Yours sincerely,
Alastair Cameron

Friday, 19 August 2011

Lizard and Penrose Walking Festival 2011

 Throughout September we are holding 2 weeks of walks, for information and list of how to book see the right hand column of the blog


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Either you're very small, or that chair is very big


Visitors to Lizard Point on a damp day this week, were met by the cheery welcome of a giant deck chair and assorted fun for kids of all ages.

We in partnership with Natural England offered free kids activities, for families out and about on the Lizard, all based on a wildlife theme.

Also on display was information on the work of the two nature conservation organisations locally. We join forces not only to organise events such as these, but to put into action grazing for wildlife, scrub clearance for rare plants, and other vital management across the unique heath and coastal habitats of the Lizard.

Out in force on Monday were swirly snakes, balancing butterflies, habitat hats and peg animals, with glitter and googly eyes a plenty.

Thanks to all the NT and NE vols who snipped and glued, and fluffed and feathered, during what proved to be a really popular day.

Look out for future school holiday events at Lizard Car Park. You can't miss the deck chair!


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