Final Balsam Pull of 2015

We’ve come to the end of our Balsam pulling in the Valency valley for this year, with the volunteers going out for their last day earlier in the week. It has been a really successful season and we were all delighted when we reached Boscastle last week. This is the first time in many years we’ve managed to pull Balsam along the whole stretch of the river before it starts to set seed. Which just goes to show all our hard work is paying off!

We’ve seen some great parts of the valley we don’t normally get too, which also turned out to be a haven for Silver Washed Fritillaries and Dippers.

Thank-you very much to all our hard working volunteers who showed up every week with determination, we absolutely couldn’t have done it without you.

2015 balsam pull team Colin and balsam Silver Washed Fritillary


Basil and Balsam

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Big Butterfly Count 2015 – Help your local Lepidoptera!

Red Admiral on valerian (photo credit Jon Gardner 2012)

Red Admiral on valerian
(photo credit Jon Gardner 2012)

If you have 15 minutes to spare at some point between 17 July and 19 August, why not get involved with the Big Butterfly Count? Its very easy to do, just download the app or the handy ID guide from the website, choose a spot and sit for 15 peaceful minutes spotting butterflies and moths. Once you’ve done this, submit your sightings on the same website again. Simples! Not only do you get an excuse to sit still for 15 minutes and enjoy your surroundings, but you are really helping to develop the understanding of butterflies and moths in the UK.

Mind you, if your only spare 15 minutes is in the middle of the night, you might not count that many butterflies!

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A week in the life of a National Trust ranger

Interested in what its like to be a National Trust ranger? Gaby was interested enough to join the Holywell-Tintagel team for a whole week of work experience. Here’s what she got up to…

The beach clean posse. Gaby, second from left and our full time volunteers Faye, Alex and Michael, modeling the red.

The beach clean posse. Gaby, second from left and our full time volunteers Faye, Alex and Michael, modeling the red.

My name is Gaby and I have just a completed a one week work experience placement with the National Trust to gather an insight into the day to day life of a ranger. Although it has been a short week, I have learnt so much and it has given me an idea as to what I might like to do in the future. I chose to do work experience with the National Trust as I thought it would be very interesting and this turned out to be very true. The activities I have done have been incredibly varied but also incredibly fun. The experience has helped develop many skills and meet the local people. I have thoroughly enjoyed the week along the coast and would love to volunteer for the National Trust again in the future.

On the first day, I was introduced to the lovely team of rangers and volunteers at Polzeath. We set off towards Tintagel, collecting money from the National Trust boxes along the way. During the day Tom, Michael and I did a few odd jobs. We put a new sign on Glebe Cliff and removed a metal stake out at Bossiney. Also, we dug out some steps at Rocky Valley. The work was quite physical but really enjoyable along the way.
On the second day, Tom, Faye and I travelled to Crantock Estuary to pull out ragwort. Tretherras School helped us in the morning pull out numerous bags of the controversial plant. This activity helped me learn lots about the plant and the negatives and benefits it brings to animals. Furthermore, we went to Crantock with the school and we did a quick litter pick of the dunes.

In the middle of the week, Sarah, Faye and I joined a local group and went out looking for the rare harebell flower. I was stunned by the amount of knowledge this group had of flowers and plants. This was a nice day as we were walking the local coast paths at Polzeath in the glorious sunshine.

Not sure what's happening here? Maybe they've gone a bit mad after hunting for Harebells all morning?

Not sure what’s happening here? Maybe they’ve gone a bit mad after hunting for Harebells all morning?

On Thursday, I helped out with the easy access rock pool ramble. This ramble helped me gain skills in working with the elderly and disabled. It also educated me on marine life and again what events the National Trust hold.
On the final day, the volunteers and I did a litter pick near Polzeath and another one at Tregardock. This litter pick showed me how much rubbish and litter the National Trust has to pick up regularly. The amount was quite shocking and made me want to clean up more in the future.

In conclusion, I was so glad I did a week’s work experience with the National trust at Polzeath, as it has helped me decide what I want to do in the future. The experience has also developed many skills and given me an idea as to what the work entails. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone!

Thanks for all your help Gaby!

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Diggin Deeper

The next event at the OPO is ‘Diggin’ deeper’. As part of the Festival of Archaeology, we’ll be unearthing the earlier medieval history of the building from its roots as longhouse in 1380 through to 1500 when the iconic slate roof was added.

This will be done through several reconstruction drawings by local artist Sue Read (see sketch below), along with articles, newspaper cuttings, architects’ plans and drafts showing the roof restoration of 1992 – a project that increased our understanding of the roof.

diggin deeper

In the garden we will have a mock-excavation ‘trench’ for your little treasures who wish to become an archaeologist for the day as well as the chance to handle artefacts.

There’s also a chance to meet archaeologists from North Cornwall Heritage who, along with us at the OPO, will give a combined talk about medieval longhouses in the landscape.

Normal admission charges apply. Members free.

1380 recon

A preliminary sketch of the building c.1380. Find out more about Sue Read here.

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Classy Coast Path

Running locations don't get much better on a sunny evening. Glebe Cliff looking towards Tintagel Castle.

Running locations don’t get much better on a sunny evening. Glebe Cliff looking towards Tintagel Castle.

We were blessed with some more golden weather for the second installment in the Coastal Challenge Series, taking place on the craggy clifftops around Tintagel. Once again we were really excited by the amount of people who were keen to head out running with us. 98 runners all in all donned their trainers, this number topped up by 35 visiting Launceston Road Runners.

This was possibly the hardest of the run series with some hefty hills and some tricky rock sections to negotiate. Everyone took it in their stride, especially the many runners new to coastpath running. We’ve still got a few tricks left up our sleeve for the rest of the series (watch out for the sand dunes on the 4th run!), but this one was undoubtedly a toughie in the June heat.

Thanks to Rob, Zelda and team at the Strand Cafe for catering for the horde of hungry runners afterwards.

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Next up is the Carnewas to Porthcothan run on 7th July. Don’t miss out, lets make it at least 100 runners next time! Email to find out more and book your place

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Napping in Nature

Do you ever yearn to nap in more natural surroundings? Do you ever want to snooze in the solitude and peace of the great outdoors?

Alex and Michael, our full time volunteers clearly don’t need to go on the ‘Powernapping for rangers course’, ably sneaking in forty winks (well, maybe about 15) to the lunch break after a morning strimming the footpath down to Porth Mear near Park Head.
Volunteer with the ranger team and you too can have some sneaky shuteye in a place far from busy roads and urban hustle and bustle!

Just to prove we're not all about the napping!

Just to prove we’re not all about the napping!

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If you do ‘just’ one thing this week….

(as seen in this weeks WMN…) Come and join us in a couple of weeks, on Saturday 4 July between midday and 4pm at the BIG BEACH PICNIC down at Polzeath! wmn In what promises to be a brilliant one-off day out in celebration of the North Cornwall coast, bring along a picnic and join in the fun. There’ll be lots going on including a sand sculpture competition, rock pool rambles, beach games and craft tent. BBP July 2015 2-page-001 Call 01208863046 for more details or full details can be found on our National Trust Polzeath to Port Quin web pages

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The Boscastle NT Second Hand Book Shop

We have opened the doors on a new project this year in Boscastle – our Second Hand Book Shop


Although we have got off to a good start, we are still looking for more donations of books to fill out the shelves, if you can help? All unwanted books can be dropped off with us at the Boscastle Visitor Centre.


It will be open most days, but if you find it shut, just pop into the next door Visitor Centre and if we can, we’ll open it up for you!


All the money made from sales goes back into the work we do in and around Boscastle

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Busy weekend

On Saturday morning we had 12 volunteers join us for some invasive, non-native Himalayan balsam removal in Rocky Valley, a beautiful valley near Tintagel. The volunteers who were brave enough, went coasteering with Cornish Rock Tors at Port Quin in the afternoon as a thanks for their hard work.

We work in partnership with Cornish Rock Tors and they kindly provided this coasteering session for free.

On Sunday, ranger Tom led a wildflower walk around the stunning Pentire headland near Polzeath. We had over 20 members of the public join us, soaking up the sunshine and all the wildflower knowledge we could. We noted 83 species of flowering plants and grasses as well as various birds, butterflies and insects including a ruby tailed wasp, a banded sexton beetle, oak eggar moth caterpillar and small eggar moth caterpillars. We also saw a fox out in the bright sunshine, but most awesome of all – a pod of dolphins!

To find out what other ranger days and events we have coming up over the next few months, click on the tabs at the top of the page.

Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell

Posted in bug stuff, Butterflies, coast stuff, general NT stuff, insects, North Cornwall stuff, plant stuff, ranger stuff, Volunteers, wildlife | Tagged | Leave a comment

Diggin’ Deeper

We are delighted to announce that our Festival of British Archaeology event ‘Diggin’ Deeper’ is featured in the Council for British Archaeology newsletter.

The event is being organised in partnership with North Cornwall Heritage and runs from 11-26 July. It will feature reconstructive drawings, talks, a mock excavation for kids and finds handling*. For more information about the event, click here:

Normal admission charges apply. Members free.

For more information about the Festival of British Archaeology, or to find an event near you, click here:

For any queries, please contact

*activities may be subject to change.

Festival centre spread (2)-page-001

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