Working Nine to Five. A work experience week…

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been joined by three work experience students from a local school. They joined the Tintagel – Holywell ranger team for a week or two, helping and finding out exactly what a National Trust ranger does and trying out a nine to five job. Well, 8:15 – 4:30pm!

We try and plan our work experience opportunities to get a good flavour of the different tasks we might do in the ranger team. Highlighting a few tasks, this might be anything from improving footpath access, installing gates, cutting back vegetation or working with schools.

But as well as booking in different tasks, we also like the week to be really representative of a normal working week. A lot of our work is very seasonal, for example over winter we spend a lot of time carrying out habitat management on our coastal grassland which ultimately means scrub clearance. Come summer , we’re spending a lot of time cutting back vegetation along paths or tackling invasive species like ragwort. This can mean that we can sometimes end up doing similar tasks from week to week in a season.

Here’s a few words from two of the students describing what they got up to and what they thought of their time with us.

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Installing new field gates on a work experience week. James on the far right.

 

James, Year 10

I had a two week placement with the National Trust and the two weeks can be described as very enjoyable. I went to many different places, some of which I had never been to and completed a wide range of jobs from cutting back the overgrown coast paths to repairing fences. Also I got to work with a great team of people who do this job day in day out with the ultimate goal of helping out their local community. Overall I think it was a great experience and would recommend it to people who love the countryside and helping the community.

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Lianne helping us cut back overgrown footpaths near Epphaven.

 

Lianne, Year 12

My name is Lianne and I came to the National Trust for a week’s work experience. I decided to choose the National Trust as I enjoy being outside and wasn’t sure of all the things they did, so wanted to find out. On Monday I started off doing some raking of grass cuttings behind an overgrown house at Port Gaverne. I then did a litter pick on the NT owned beach nearby. In the afternoon we went to Pentire Head and pulled up Common ragwort, a plant that can poison cows and other livestock.

The rest of the week was mostly similar but in different locations  such as Epphaven and Newquay. However in Epphaven we also did some coast path maintenance by inserting some slate into the path to make some steps to make it easier for public access. Over the week I have learnt how to use a range of tools and equipment.

The part of the week that I enjoyed the mot was the maintenance work in Epphaven and it was something different and interesting rather than just clearing the path. I also leant a lot about using tools like the pinch bar and a mattock. I also just enjoyed being out and about in the sun in different locations around North Cornwall.

When I first came to the National trust I wasn’t sure what their jobs consisted off, but now I realize how much they do to maintain the coast paths and how busy they are all the time. I think that the National Trust is a very good charity organisation and I have really enjoyed my week here.

Thanks for your help guys! Being a charity we appreciate help from volunteers and work experience students. If you would like to find out more about what we do through volunteering or a work experience placement please email tom.sparkes@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Trevose Head Campaign

Thanks to gifts left in Wills and generous donations, the National Trust has had an offer to buy and protect Trevose Head in North Cornwall accepted. The aim now is to raise £250,000 so that the Trust can look after this spectacular Cornish headland for ever, protecting it for people and wildlife. Will you help today? Please click here to donate on crowdfunder

Video credit: Design and Film Cornwall
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Festival of Archaeology at The OPO

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As part of the Festival of British Archaeology, 16-31 July, unearth how this ancient abode would have looked over 600 years ago and how life within it has changed over time.

Let your little treasures become archaeologists for the day with hands-on activities.

The exhibit will feature original pen, ink and watercolour reconstruction drawings of how the house would have looked back when it was built in 1380. These were created by much-celebrated local artist Sue Read.

A children’s archaeology and history trail will be available free of charge as well as crafty capers in the hall, where kids can create their own coat of arms, much like the one originally above the fireplace.

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Have a go at being an archaeologist

A mock-trench will also be available to dig in  (weather permitting) featuring real artefacts from the medieval and post-medieval periods so that avid archaeologists can get hands-on with history.

For those interested in the famously wavy roof, a section of the exhibition will be dedicated to exploring the 1992 roof restoration, which took two builders six months to complete at a cost of £70,000!

Wreckers in Porth Mear

If you have taken a stroll down the Porth Mear valley over the last few months, you won’t have had to be too eagle-eyed to have noticed something different about it.

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An unusual lizard now lives in the valley

The lush valley often feels a world away from the crashing seas and craggy headland of the neighbouring Park Head. Offering valuable shelter from the weather rolling in across the sea, in winter it is dominated by stands of common reed. Later on in spring, it can be flushed with bluebells before the bracken steals the show into summer.

This summer, poking its bow up out of a sea of bracken is a shipwreck populated by lizards, owls and a whole host of other local wildlife.

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Wrecked in the bracken

But this wreck hasn’t been lured ashore by Poldark-esque locals waving lanterns on a stormy night. This wreck has been created by a Somerset based chainsaw artist called Matt Crabb, pieced together from windfall beech and ‘washed ashore’ by the North Cornwall ranger team.

The sculpture has been commissioned as part of the Coast Festival which we celebrated in 2015. This was the 50th anniversary of the Neptune project, a fundraising campaign established in 1965 to raise funds to protect and secure our special coast line in the UK.

The shipwreck can be seen at any time of year as the vegetation grows then dies back around it. To reach the sculpture, there’s a lovely 4.5 mile circular walk that you can do from either the Park Head or Carnewas car parks. The walk takes in Park Head with views over the beach at Bedruthan Steps before descending down into the Porth Mear Valley itself. You can download the route here as one of our downloadable walks. Why not take a stroll and see what you can discover? Here’s a hint; the sculpture is just south of point 6 on the downloadable map.

Watch this space for a time lapse video of the work that went into the sculpture’s installation. The most challenging part of construction was possibly getting the timber into the valley which was impossible to access with a  vehicle!

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Matt Crabb (Somerset based chainsaw artist) at the beginning of a long day constructing the sculpture. The hardest part of a job on the coast can often be transporting the materials to the site.

We hope you enjoy discovering the sculpture on a walk in North Cornwall.

Tom Sparkes North Cornwall Ranger

Lundy Bay BioBlitz 2 & 3 July

Next weekend is the long awaited BioBlitz at Lundy Bay, near Polzeath in North Cornwall. Long awaited as I started planning the event last August! Hopefully all the planning will pay off and we will have an amazing time finding and recording as many plant and animal species as we can in 24 hours. Let’s hope the weather is kind to us (no rain please!). Its free and family friendly. Come along for an hour or two, or all 24, the choice is yours. All info below, but if you do have any questions please get in touch with me via northcornwall@nationaltrust.org.uk

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Marine Discovery Day

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Last Thursday saw another fabulous warm sunny day in Polzeath for our annual participation in Marine Discovery Day – this years organisations included NT, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Polzeath Marine Conservation Group, Shark Trust, Padstow National Lobster Hatchery, Cornwall Seal Group, Fathoms Free Divers and the RNLI beach lifeguards. The beach was packed with half term holiday makers so everyone’s stalls had a steady flow of visitors learning about all things marine conservation wise, joining in the rock pool ramble, enjoying arts & crafts and watching RNLI rescue demos.

The highlight of the Trust offering was the annual and hotly contested sand sculpture competition. This year was one of the best yet with a packed arena of ambitious entries – judging really was very hard as we had to pick out just three from a superb range of sculptures…….But here are this years worthy winners.

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3rd Place. Mini Pus – a Minions character octopus! Awesome! Made by Geno Hounsham, Chloe Gordon and Nathan MacCarron from Southampton

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2nd place -Cushion star – inspired by their rock pool ramble earlier that morning. Made by Harriet, Laurence and Emma Miller from Wadebridge

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1st Prize – Basking shark. Fab winning sculpture by Monty, Max and Sarah Hargitay from near Stroud