Ecoasteering with Cornish Rock Tors

Saturday 2 August (back up of Sunday 3 August)
ecoasteer event-page-001
Ecoasteering is a more extreme version of a favourite beach activity, rockpooling. There will be the challenge of jumps and climbs along the way to explore some of the weird and wonderful marine life located on our shores. The morning will be tailored differently to a normal coasteering session with an emphasis on finding and learning about marine life and the local area, following the seashore code as we go.
The activity is ideal for family groups looking to have the adventure and fun of coasteering but with a more educational approach.
Meet at the Cornish Rock Tors gazebo on Polzeath beach. Grid reference SW 937 790, PL27 6TA. Parking adjacent (not National Trust).
Bring swimwear, a big towel to change with, sun cream and water.
£35 Booking essential on 07791 534884

This video is from Cornish Rock Tors Ltd – as they say ‘want to see what happens when you loose your Gopro in the sea? Take a glimpse at life on the sea bed courtesy of a Hen group we took out in May. Found by Joe a hundred metres from where it was lost, camera knackered but sim card still in tack. Now on its way back to a very happy hen so she can re-live her coasteering adventure all over again. Smiles all round ‘

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Slugs and Stars at Northcott Mouth

Recently the ranger team joined Matt Slater from Cornwall Wildlife Trust and members of Cornwall Wildlife Trust Tamar Group in completing a PANACHE Shoresearch survey at Northcott Mouth. Timed to coincide with the recent spring tides, we went on the hunt for various species that would provide evidence in support of the Hartland Point to Tintagel Marine Conservation Zone.

To our delight we discovered a wealth of wildlife. Among the snails and mussels, we spied limpets on the move, dog whelk eggs hiding in cracks in the rock, a spiny starfish and a miniscule cushioned starfish.

Not to mention a few confused shore crabs, brightly coloured anemones as far as the eye could see and a Montagu’s blenny (Coryphoblennius galerita) identifiable by its rakish crest, composed of a line of fringed tentacles between its eyes.

The wreck of SS Belem can be seen emerging out of the sand at low tide and provides a home for an incredible colony of honeycomb worm (Sabellaria alveolata). These special creatures are a feature of our local beaches. Spectacular reefs are constructed on areas of hard rock (or shipwrecks!) by worms slowly building small, interlocking tubes out of sand. These structures become home to other shore-dwelling animals, including, in the case of Northcott Mouth, a large community of Celtic sea slugs (Onchidella celtica).

If you want to learn more, why not come along to our Rockpooling with the rangers event on Wednesday 3oth July at Sandymouth. Meet at the National Trust money box in Sandymouth carpark (EX23 9HW) at 1pm, ready to explore the rockpools of Sandymouth beach.

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50 Things to do before you’re 11 3/4

We did it last year, and for 2014 we have ramped up our ’50 Things to do before you’re 11 3/4′ campaign to get 200,000 kids playing outside this summer, following new research revealing that children aged 7-12 spend less time playing outside than any other generation.

Here’s a little video of our friend, comedian Hugh Dennis backing the campaign to get kids outside and reconnecting with nature during the summer holidays.

Visit for more details and how you can get involved this summer!

Amongst the ones you can do in North Cornwall, you can complete #17 of the 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4 at the Old Post Office in Tintagel – set up a snail race in the rear garden. We’ve got the racetrack ready, you just need to pick a snail. On your marks, get set, go…slowly!

TOP TIP: keep the snails cool and wet to help them move well, and don’t forget to put them back where you found them!

Pick up your adventure scrapbook from our entranceway, and start ticking off your completed activities today.


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Thanks a lot!

Jan, Linda, Sarah and Joce all proudly sporting their new volunteering badges. Malcolm joined us too but had to leave a bit early to go on holiday!

Jan, Linda, Sarah and Joce all proudly sporting their new volunteering badges. Malcolm joined us too but had to leave a bit early to go on holiday!

Thanks to Jan Holyroyd and some of the Newquay Healthy Walkers for joining me and other regular volunteers for some ragwort pulling in the heat today (Tuesday 22 July). We met on Cubert Common, only to find that there was no ragwort to pull! Being a determined bunch we weren’t put off and drove on down to Crantock car park, where the friendly car parking staff managed to squeeze us in amongst the holiday hordes. We then headed up onto Rushy Green where we put in a good effort controlling the spread of the insect friendly (unfortunately not so friendly to livestock) ragwort.

All in all 17 bin bags of ragwort were pulled up, ensuring the cinnabar moth caterpillars that were feeding on it were shaken off onto other plants they could feed on where possible.

Cheers for your help guys, volunteers make all the difference to our conservation work!

North Cornwall Ranger

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Will it fall or not?



Part of the cliff at Sandymouth was collapsed onto the beach to make it safer to sit under.

Over the past 8 years a small part of the cliff near the entrance to Sandymouth beach has shown no signs of moving but with this year’s winter storms a crevice had been eroded away behind the cliff face.

Whether this might cause the face to fall away is difficult to say but even with ‘rockfall’ warning signs, the public still sit beneath this part of the cliff.   Normally we would prefer to work with natural processes but we felt removal of the face would help to reduce the risk of possible injury in this case.

It just shows that even on a fairly hard rock coast line we still get erosion taking place



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Surf and Turf

This Wed 16 July come and join in with us and get a FREE Surf lesson!


Once a year in partnership with Crantock Bay Surf School we offer a free surf lesson to reward anyone who helps us for a morning of grassland management. For a few hours we will be tackling common ragwort, a much misunderstood native plant. Although an essential plant for 30 invertebrate species, as a landowner we have to prevent it’s spread to nearby grazing land. Then in the afternoon we’ll whip you back to Crantock Bay where you’ll take a dip in the ocean, spending 2 to 3 hours learning all the surfing* basics. All equipment provided, just bring some lunch, a towel and swimwear and clothing suitable for the weather.

Time: 10am – 6pm
Meet: at the National Trust Crantock beach car park SW 789 608 TR8 5RN Free parking for all helpers for the day.

Don’t fancy a surf? Just come along and help with the ragwort management until 3pm
*N.B. Surfing is weather and tide dependant and may be replaced by stand up paddle boarding. Limited spaces for the surfing so get booked on quick!

Tools, gloves and tuition: all provided by National Trust
Bring: food and drink, footwear and clothing suitable for the weather and task
Free. 10am – 4pm

Booking essential so that we can contact you if there are any last minute changes or cancellations. Please call the rangers on 01208 863821 or email

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Cruising the trails

Almost at Pentire Head

Almost at Pentire Head

When you’ve lived and worked somewhere for a while, even in Cornwall, it can sometimes be easy to take it for granted. But nights like the Polzeath Summer Trail Series firmly bring you back to earth (literally)and remind you what a beautiful part of the world it is!

We had 24 runners joining us for our second evening of running the coast path around Pentire Head, near Polzeath and then sizzling some sausages on the beach at Baby Bay. It was great to see a such a varied mix of people turning up to take on the route, from seasoned runners to relative newbies.

We have one more night booked in this summer on August 5th. Don’t miss out this golden opportunity for an evening enjoying some of the best Cornwall has on offer, the photos speak for themselves!

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Call the rangers on 01208 863821 or email to book on the run.

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So much to do, so little time….

Overgrown path

You may have noticed paths becoming clogged with vegetation recently, please bear with us as we make our way along miles and miles of path over the next few weeks. In the Tintagel to Holywell area we have over 50 miles of paths, with only three rangers (who have lots of other work to do too!) we really do appreciate the essential help we get from our volunteers with our path cuts. We started a few weeks ago, and some will already be growing well again with the perfect weather conditions we’ve had for the vegetation to thrive. Of course all these flowering plants are great for insects and birds so please don’t be in too much of a hurry for it all to be cut back or mind if we leave some areas, such as around the edges of our car parks. Where we cut vegetation we rake off the cuttings as this encourages a diverse range of flowering plants to regrow. If the cuttings are left to compost where they are cut, this increases the nutrients in the ground and encourages less biodiversity and the less desirable plants such as nettles and thistles to thrive (some nettles and thistles are good of course, just not at the expense of all the other flowering plants).

Path cuttingPath cutting







As well as cutting vegetation where it affects access and parking, we also have some plants we need to dig up or pull up. Himalayan balsam and montbretia are invasive, non-native species, in the Tintagel to Holywell area we have been pulling up Himalayan balsam in Rocky Valley and digging up montbretia at Glebe Cliff near Tintagel. Common ragwort is a native plant and essential to at least 30 insect species, with over another 200 insect species making use of the plant too. But we do have to control the spread of ragwort, especially near horse grazing areas, so we have been pulling ragwort at a number of our sites with a few more places to go over the next few weeks. Check out how you can get involved in the Volunteer Days tab at the top of the page.

Ragwort pulling






With summer being the prime time for vegetation we have also been surveying our flowering plants, not just cutting or pulling them! At West Pentire, we manage the fields for rare arable plants and crops for birds. Volunteers help us monitor the desirable and undesirable plants in the fields, this way we can tell if we are managing the fields in the right way so we have more of the desirable and less of the undesirable!

West PentireArable plant survey






There are numerous other surveys we have carried over the past few weeks too, we do this to monitor numbers which can affect our how we then manage our sites, some of the plants and birds we survey are rare, some very rare, therefore monitoring their numbers is essential. So far we have surveyed corn buntings, peregrines, choughs, seals, pyramidal orchids, newts, pond life, wild chives, butterflies and moths, with still a few more surveys to carry out over the next few weeks and the weekly butterfly survey at Lundy Bay til the end of September.

Pyramidal orchid

Pyramidal orchid

Newt survey



Want to get involved? Just get in touch! We always welcome new volunteers to the team to help us with our work. Email me at or phone 01208 863821

Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell



Posted in bug stuff, Butterflies, coast stuff, Cornish Choughs, general NT stuff, insects, Lundy, North Cornwall stuff, plant stuff, ranger stuff, RSPB, seal stuff, Summer stuff, Volunteers, wildlife | Tagged | Leave a comment

Moth Night

This morning we are slightly excited that the BBC Springwatch team are now following the North Cornwall NT and accounts, which also ties in perfectly with this weekend of moth night’s (, including our own this Saturday 5 July from 9.15pm until about 11.15pm at Port Quin.

Moth Night-page-001

- so if you are mad about these creatures, come and join us for an evening finding out about them, seeing which ones are about and we will show you how to make a safe moth trap….

We’ll then be sending our findings to the survey (on the link above!) Suitable for all ages, and while we wait for the moths to appear, our Head Ranger, Mike, will talk about some fascinating mothy facts! We are even providing tea, coffee and hot chocolate….

Booking and questions on 01208 863821, cost just £1.50 per person. Please wear clothes suitable to the weather and temperature, bring a torch! Meet at Port Quin NT car park (SW 972 805 / PL29 3SU)

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Conservation in action…

A few months ago, we installed a barn owl box in a barn at one of our farms. We have recently had reports that a barn owl has been flying in and out of the barn! We don’t want to disturb the barn owl, so we won’t be going in to check whether its using the box yet.

The box was made by Phill, one of our full time volunteer rangers, based on a Barn Owl Trust design. In the photo you can see George, another full time volunteer ranger, fixing the box into position.

Barn owl boxWe’re very pleased with the news of the sighting, and hopefully this nest box will help with the survival of this majestic species in North Cornwall for years to come.

copyright Barn Owl Trust

copyright Barn Owl Trust






Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell

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