Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Caring for the coast path

Lizard Head in the 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. 


renovating a footbridge at Black Head
New boardwalk and stepping stones at Chynalls Cliff

In recent times we have benefited hugely from two big investments in the path. Thanks to a very generous single donor, we have been able to employ an Access Ranger for most of the last 18 months, and this role will continue into 2014. Working together with our volunteers, the Access Ranger has allowed us to take huge strides forward in bringing structures such as steps, bridges and stiles up to a consistent standard.

Running in tandem with our Access Ranger’s work, has been a series of larger scale projects undertaken by contractors.  Many of these improvements have involved mini-diggers and other machinery, to bring about long-term solutions to sections that have been a recurring headache. Hopefully the days of repeatedly infilling gulleys on the steep hill above Poltesco are behind us, now that new larger cross drains have been installed, made of local serpentine stone. 8 different footpath projects have been completed by contractors on NT land on The Lizard in the last year, investing over £15000 in the coast path.

contractors re-profiling a stream crossing to reduce flood risk

Tasks have included rebuilding collapsed revetments, widening narrow and awkward sections of path, and making drainage fit to cope with heavier rainstorms. The majority of this funding has come from the Rural Development Programme for England, and the South West Coast Path Association, and we acknowledge their help in pushing forward these welcome improvements.

There’s never been a better time to get out and explore our coast on foot!


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Polpeor Update

10 tier scaffolding!
Cliff stabilisation work is progressing well at The Most Southerly Point, with the contractors on track to complete by Christmas. As you can see it has involved a mammoth scaffolding project, to provide the workforce with a safe means of accessing the cliff face. The scaffolding company exhausted their reserves on this huge job, and had to go shopping in order to get enough poles, planks and clamps to finish the structure!

Next stage, which started today, is drilling 24 2 metre deep holes into the cliff face, in order to insert pins and peg down stabilising mesh. This is done with an industrial scale drill run off compressed air, with water to flush out the debris. Machinery the workforce is very familiar with, as they all started their working lives deep underground as Cornish miners.

drilling 2m holes for stabilising pins
Drilling should largely be complete this week, with rolling out the mesh being the next step.  Early indications from the engineer are that the line of granites at the top will need to be pulled back from their present position by 1-2m to provide a safe margin to the new cliff edge. We believe this won't dramatically impact on access for vehicles or pedestrians to the Point itself, and once the soil has been returned and the grass recovered, the place will feel much as it did before the slip.
We'll keep you posted with the latest updates.


Friday, 1 November 2013

Work gets underway on the Paths for Communities Project at Penrose

 The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) have started the first section of work under the P4C project at Penrose today. The volunteers were knee deep in mud at Carminowe Creek pulling out the old boardwalk which was badly damanged during the flooding last winter. They managed to get it all out today so next week work will start on installing a brand new one.

As the path is closed whilst the work is going on, there is a diversion in place across the wet meadow behind the creek. It is very wet and muddy all round Carminowe Creek at the moment so make sure you wear your wellies!

The National Trust is currently working on the Paths for Communities project across Penrose to improve access opportunities and enjoyment for everyone.  The P4C Project is funded by Natural England and was created to enhance the public rights of way network and to deliver benefits to rural areas.  Work began in October and will be complete by March 2014. With thanks to DEFRA and Natural England. This project is funded through the RDPE programme.


Lanterns galore at Poltesco

Poltesco played host to lanterns galore on Tuesday, as families from near and far joined us for a well attended make it yourself craft workshop.

More than 25 lanterns were constructed during the afternoon, with folk of all ages making their own masterpiece to take home.

The first step is to fashion a withy frame, and to keep it local we used willows cut from our own hedges. Then several layers of extra strong tissue paper soaked in dilute PVA glue are added to cover the frames, before a final layer of decoration adds the finishing touches. Lots of people went for a halloween theme, with ghosts and pumpkins out in force, whist others made polka dot or patchwork lampshades, which can be used 'for real' if  safely secured over electric lightbulb fittings.

We were so well attended that we ran an extra later session, but we still couldn't cater for everyone interested in joining us unfortunately.

Keep checking this blog and our website for details of our other upcoming fun family events.


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