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!


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