Cornish hedging at Maer Cliff

If you happened to be around Maer Cliff near Bude earlier this month you may have seen rangers from across Cornwall and our community volunteers getting to grips with some traditional skills. Dry-stone walling, particularly in the style of Cornish hedging, is an important cultural aspect of the county; I’d say it’s impossible to travel a stretch of road and not come across several examples of it along the roadside! They also have the practical application of preventing livestock from escaping the fields along with also being a haven for wildlife.

Cornish hedging involves the careful stacking of stones, layer upon layer (known as courses) trying to get as much contact to each other as possible as it is friction that holds the wall together, then being backfilled with consolidated earth. A key feature is the batter, or curve, of the wall; being wider at the base and tapering towards the top. This is important as when the earth in the centre settles, the walls will begin to bow outwards which has the effect of interlocking the stones more tightly. Should the wall be built without the batter, it runs the risk that sections will bulge outwards, looking both unattractive and also at risk of collapse. The batter is also a method of stopping livestock climbing out, as the surface is too sheer for them to traverse.

Up on Maer, there are a series of Cornish hedges dating back to the medieval period. Now a key part of the landscape, sections of them have fallen into disrepair requiring the rangers to come along and fix it. Last year the repair started at the end of one wall which had almost completely gone. Thanks to both the rangers and our volunteers, the end of the wall was repaired!

The wall then sat unattended until earlier this month when our very own Ranger Basil organised a walling workshop; inviting both full-time volunteers and rangers from across Cornwall to develop their skills in this craft. Like the section above, the wall was little more than an earth bank when we arrived, however a quick bout with a digger left it ready to be built up. Hedges across the county vary in both style and stone type. Historically this was due to what was available nearby at the time, and as Cornwall’s geology changes and you move either up or down the county. Because of this we endeavoured to source local stone so our wall would match the location it is in.

The rangers then arrived later in the week and after a brief talk about the history and theory behind Cornish hedging by Ranger Basil, we were let loose to start building. The first task was to set our grounders: large stones set below ground level, angled down to serve both as a solid foundation but also to begin the batter as mentioned above. Soil was placed behind the grounders and tamped solid until level with the height of the stones. This ensures the stones are firmly in place along with providing a bit of footing for the next layer of stones. At this point the next course could be added. Here we attempted to follow a similar method as to what can be seen in modern brick-laying: staggering each layer so that the joints where two stones meet are covered above by a single stone. This removes the risk of running joints up the wall which are a structural weakness.

Course after course we continued in this fashion. Occasionally we were stumped in trying to find just the right stone to fit what could be some pretty awkward gaps. Nevertheless the wall continued to rise in height until the time came to call it a day. At this point the visiting rangers left, having done a wonderful job, and handed the baton on to our volunteer group to continue the work.


Our volunteers then arrived later in the week and, having been given a similar talk about the history and theory on hedging, set about the task with gusto. Having a section already started, they were able to add course after course; the wall jumping up in height.

Once at the desired height, a course of smaller stones were added as a capping layer occasionally called Jack-and-Jills. After this the final round of tamping earth began, piling up the earth to get an added bit of height, before then being topped with turf.

After a couple of weeks of organising the workshop; inviting people down; preparing the wall; sourcing stone; and two days of construction, the wall was completed. We’d like to thank everyone who joined us in helping repair this section of wall: from all the rangers coming from far-flung regions of Cornwall to our dedicated volunteer group, you’ll be able to come back in years to come and see the results of your handiwork!


Gareth Juleff

Volunteer Ranger Boscastle to Morwenstow


Lundy Bay BioBlitz – the results are in!

Over 130 people were involved with Lundy Bay BioBlitz at the beginning of July. There were 19 wildlife sessions to get involved in over the 24 hour wildlife finding and recording event, with a little time set aside for eating, and a couple of hours sleep!

Now we have collated all the records of the species found and counted them….660 different species! Fantastic wildlife hunting by everyone involved.

I am eternally grateful for all the help and support from everyone who came along to the BioBlitz, massive thanks.

Below is the list of species found, please excuse any spelling mistakes. If you were at the BioBlitz and think we have missed off one of the species you found, please do let me know. The photos are just a small selection of the fantastic photos taken at the event.

Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell

Arctic skua
Barn owl
Blue tit
Carrion crow
Common swift
Cory’s shearwater
Feral pigeon
Great black-backed gull
Great northern diver
Great spotted woodpecker
Great skua
Great tit
Herring gull
Lesser black-backed gull
Manx shearwater
Rock pipit
Sandwich tern
Song thrush
Tawny owl
Willow warbler
Bank vole
Common pipistrelle
Common shrew
Greater horseshoe
Natterer’s bat
Noctule bat
Red fox
Roe deer
Wood mouse
Common toad
Common toad tadpoles
Common lizard
Palmate newt
7-spot ladybird
24-spot ladybird
Angle shades Phlogophora meticulosa
Barred fruit-tree tortrix Pandemis cerasana
Barred red Hylaea fasciaria
Barred straw Eulithis pyraliata
Barred yellow Cidaria fulvata
Bee mimic hoverfly
Bittersweet smudge Acrolepia autumnitella
Black ant
Black-headed dwarf Elachista atricomella
Bluebottle fly spp.
Bonking beetle / common red soldier beetle Rhagonycha fulva
Bramble shoot moth Epiblema uddmanniana
Brassy mining bee Lasioglossum morio
Bright-line brown-eye Lacanobia oleracea
Bright neb Argolamprotes micella
Brimstone moth Opisthograptis luteolata
Broad centurian Chloromyia formosa
Broom moth Melanchra pisi
Brown-lipped / banded snail Cepaea nemorcelis
Brown silver-line Petrophora chlorosata
Brussels lace Cleorodes lichenaria
Buff arches Habrosyne pyritoides
Buff ermine Spilosoma luteum
Buff-tailed bumblebee
Buff-tailed marble Hedya ochroleucana
Bumblebee hoverfly Volucella bombylans
Burnished brass Diachrysia chrysitis
Celery leaf beetle Phaedon tumidulus
Cellar snail Oxychilus cellarius
Chamomile shark Cucullia chamomillae
Cinerous pearl Opsibotys fuscalis
Clay Mythimna ferrago
Click beetle spp.
Cloud-bordered brindle Apamea crenata
Clouded border Lomaspilis marginata
Clouded brindle Apamea epomidion
Clouded silver Lomographa temerata
Common carder bee
Common carpet Eirrhoe alternata
Common earwig
Common emerald Hemithea aestivaria
Common footman Eilema lurideola
Common garden snail
Common marble Celypha lacunana
Common marbled carpet Chloroclysta truncata
Common rose bell Epiblema rosaecolana
Common rustic agg. Mesapamea secalis agg.
Common wainscot Mythimna pallens
Common wasp
Common wave Cabera exanthemata
Coronet Craniophora ligustri
Crab spider Misumena vatia
Crane fly spp.
Crawling beetles spp.
Crescent dart Agrotis trux
Cucumber spider
Daddy-long-legs spiders
Dark arches Apamea monoglypha
Dark-fringed flat-body Agonopterix nervosa
Dark / grey dagger moth Acronicta psi
Diamond-back moth Plutella xylostella
Dingy footman Eilema griseola
Diving beetle spp.
Dock bug
Dot moth Melanchra persicariae
Double-striped pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata
Draparnaud’s glass snail Oxychilus draparnaudi
Drinker moth Euthrix potatoria
Dusky slug Arion subfuscus
Early bumblebee Bombus pratorum
Early thorn Selenia dentaria
Elephant hawk-moth Deilephila elpenor
Engrailed Ectropis bistortata
Ermine knot-horn Phycitodes binaevella
European garden spider
Eyed hawk-moth Smerinthus ocellata
Fan-foot Zanclognatha tarsipennalis
Field grasshopper
Five-spot burnet moth
Flame Axylia putris
Fork tailed flower bee Anthophora furcata
Fox moth Macrothylacia rubi
Furness dowd Blastobasis adustella
Garden snail / brown garden snail Cornu aspersum
Garden bumblebee Bombus hortorum
Garden grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella
Garden pebble Evergestis forficalis
Garlic snail Oxychilus alliarius
Glossy glass snail Oxychilus navarricus helveticus
Golden pigmy Stigmella aurella
Golden-ringed dragonfly
Gorse shieldbug
Gorse tip moth Agonopterix nervosa
Grass emerald Pseudoterpna pruinata
Grasshopper spp.
Great green bush cricket
Green pug Pasiphila rectangulata
Green shieldbug
Green-veined white
Grey arches Polia nebulosa
Grey gorse piercer Cydia ulicetana
Ground beetle spp.
Hairy / sloe shield bug
Harlequin / spotted longhorn beetle Rutpela maculata
Harvestman spp.
Hawthorn slender Parornix anglicella
Heart & club Agrotis clavis
Heart & dart Agrotis exclamationis
Hedgehog slug
Hoary belle Eucosma cana
Honey bee
Hoverfly spp. larvae
Ichneumon wasp spp.
Ingrailed clay Diarsia mendica
Jenkin’s spire snail Potamopyrgus antipodarum
July highflyer Hydriomena furcata
Knapweed conch Agapeta zoegana
Knot grass
Labyrinth spider
Lackey moth
Large fruit-tree tortrix Archips podana
Large skipper
Large white
Large yellow underwing Noctua pronuba
Least thorn pigmy Stigmella perpygmaeella
Lesser marsh grasshopper
Lilac beauty Apeira syringaria
Lime-speck pug moth Eupithecia centaureata
Little grey Dipleurina / Eudonia lacustrata
Marbled conch Eupoecilia angustana
Marbled coronet Hadena confusa
Marbled minor agg. Oligia strigilis agg.
Marbled orchard tortrix Hedya nubiferana
Marbled white spot Protodeltote pygarga
Marmalade hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus
Mayfly spp. larvae
Meadow brown
Meadow case-bearer Coleophora mayrella
Meadow grasshopper
Meadow froghopper / meadow spittlebug / cuckoo spit insect Philaenus spumarius
Metellina spider spp.
Midge larvae spp.
Mining bee Andrena spp.
Mother of pearl Pleuroptya ruralis
Mottled beauty Alcis repandata
Mullein wave Scopula marginepunctata
Netted / grey field / grey garden slug Derocerus reticulatum
Nettle-tap moth Anthophila fabriciana
Olive pearl Udea olivalis
Orange crest Helcystogramma rufescens
Orange-legged furrow-bee Halictus rubicundus
Parasitic wasp spp. Gymnophora spp.
Pavement ant / turf ant Tetramorium caespitum
Peach blossom Thyatira batis
Pebble prominent Notodonta ziczac
Pellucid glass snail Vitrina pellucida
Peppered moth Biston betularia
Phantom crane fly larvae Ptychopteridae spp.
Pine carpet Thera firmata
Pinion-streaked snout Schrankia costaestrigalis
Pistol case-bearer Coleophora anatipennella
Plain golden Y Autographa jota
Pointed slender Parornix finitimella
Pond snail Lymnaeidae spp.
Poplar hawk-moth Laothoe populi
Pretty chalk carpet Melanthia procellata
Purple bar Cosmorhoe ocellata
Red admiral
Red-barred tortrix Ditula angustiorana
Red-tailed bumblebee
Red velvet mites
Riband wave Idaea aversata
Rivulet Perizoma affinitata
Royal mantle Catarhoe cuculata
Ruby tailed wasp spp.
Sallow pigmy Stigmella salicis
Sandy carpet Perizoma flavofasciata
Satin wave Idaea subsericeata
Scallop shell Rheumaptera undulata
Scalloped oak Crocallis elinguaria
Scarlet tiger Callimorpha dominula
Scrubland pigmy Stigmella plagicolella
Segmented worms Lumbriculus variegatus
Seraphim Lobophora halterata
Setaceous Hebrew character Xestia cnigrum
Sharp-angled peacock Macaria alternata
Shoulder-striped wainscot Mythimna comma
Silver Y Autographa gamma
Single-dotted wave Idaea dimidiata
Six-spot burnet moth
Sloe midget Phyllonorycter spinicolella
Small angle shades Euplexia lucipara
Small copper
Small elephant hawk-moth Deilephila porcellus
Small fan-foot Herminia grisealis
Small fleck-winged snipefly Rhagio lineola
Small rivulet Perizoma alchemillata
Small seraphim Pterapherapteryx sexalata
Small skipper
Small square-spot Diarsia rubi
Small white
Smoky wainscot Mythimna impura
Smooth glass snail Aeyopinella nitidula
Snout Hypena proboscidalis
Soldier beetle spp.
Speckled bush cricket Leptophyes punctatissima
Speckled wood
Spire snail Hydrobia ventrosa
Spotted magpie Phlyctaenia coronata
Staff beetle spp.
Straw conch Cochylimorpha straminea
Straw dot Rivula sericealis
Striped millipede Ommatoiulus sabulosus
Sulphur beetle
Swallow-tailed moth Ourapteryx sambucaria
Swollen-thighed beetle Oedemera nobilis
Thistle ermine Myelois circumvoluta
Thrift clearwing
Timothy grassbug Stenotus binotatus
Tree bumblebee
Tree snail
True lover’s knot Lycophotia porphyrea
Two-toothed door snail Clausilia bidentata
Uncertain moth Hoplodrina alsines
V-pug Chloroclystis v-ata
Wandering pond snail Radix balthica
Wasp beetle
Waterlouse spp.
Weeval spp.
White ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda
White-lipped snail
White plume moth Pterophorus pentadactyla
White-point Mythimna albipuncta
White-tailed bumblebee Bombus lucorum
White-triangle slender Caloptilia stigmatella
Willow beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria
Woodlouse Proasellus meridianus
Wormwood pug Eupithecia absinthiata
Wrinkled snail Candidula intersecta
Yellow / golden dung fly
Yellow longhorn beetle
Yellow meadow ant
Yellow satin veneer / satin grass-veneer Crambus perlella
a barkfly Graphopsocus cruciatus
a barkfly Valenzuela flavidus
a centipede Cryptops hartensis
a centipede Lithobius microps
a centipede Strigmia maritima
a click beetle Aulagromyza hendeliana
a hoverfly Eristalis arbustorum
a millipede Leptoiulus Belgicus
a spider Misumena vatia
a true bug Acetropis gimmerthalii
a true bug Calocoris spp.
a woodlouse Porcellio scaber
Acetropis gimmerthalii
Amblyteles spp.
Anaspis pulicaria
Andrena spp.
Aphrophora alni
Arion ater agg.
Athous vittatus
Aulagromyza hendeliana
Calliphora vomitoria
Calocoris norvegicus
Cheilosia illustrata
Colletes similis
Crossocerus spp.
Dromius linearis
Ectemnius spp.
Eristalis nemorum
Eristalis pertinax
Eristalis tenax
Eupeodes corolae
Lagria hirta
Lasioglossum albipes
Lasioglossum spp.
Lygocoris spp.
Melanstoma scalare
Neliocarus nebulosus
Paederus spp.
Panurgus banksianus
Tetragnatha spp.
Tenthredo spp.
Urophora jaceana
Xanthogramma pedissequum
Acorn barnacle
Beadlet anemone
Black-footed limpet Patella depressa
Black-lined periwinkle Littorina saxatilis
Bladder wrack Fucus vesiculous
Blue mussel Mytilus edulis
Blue-rayed limpet Patella pellucida
Bootlace weed / mermaid’s tresses
Boring sponge spp.
Breadcrumb sponge
Broad-clawed porcelain crab
Brown venus / smooth clam Callista chione
Bunny ears Lomentaria articulata
Bushy berry wrack
Celtic sea slug
Channelled wrack
China limpet Patella ulyssiponensis
Chiton spp.
Clawed fork weed
Cockle spp. Acanthocardia spp.
Cock’s comb
Common cockle Cerastoderma edule
Common limpet Patella vulgata
Common periwinkle
Common prawn
Common sea slater
Common / brown shrimp
Common / small spire snail Rissoa parva
Copepod spp.
Cushion star spp.
Cuvie / forest kelp Laminaria hyperborea
Dahlia anemone
Daisy anemone
Discoid fork weed
Dog whelk
Dolphin spp.
Dulse Palmaria palmata
Edible crab
Egg / knotted wrack Ascophyllum nodosum
European lobster
False Irish moss Mastocarpus stellatus
Fine-veined crinkle weed
Flat periwinkle Littorina obtusata
Flat top shell Gibbula umbilcalis
Gem anemone
Gnathia spp.
Greenleaf worm
Green seaweed Chlorophyta spp.
Grey seal
Grey top shell Gibbula cineraria
Hairy sand weed
Harbour porpoise
Hydroid spp.
Irish moss Chondrus crispus
Keel worm
Kelp spp.
Laver spp.
Leopard-spotted goby
Light bulb tunicate
Montagu’s blenny
Moon jellyfish
Orange sponge
Otter shell spp. Lutraria spp.
Oyster thief
Pepper dulse
Pheasant shell Tricolia pullus
Pink paint weed
Pod razor shell Ensis siliqua
Punctured ball weed / jelly buttons Leathesia difformis
Purse sponge
Queen scallop Aequipecten opercularis
Rayed trough shell Mactra stultorum
Red rags
Rock shrimp
Rough / black-lined periwinkle Littorina saxatilis
Saddle oyster Anomia ephippium
Sand binder
Sand eel
Sand hopper
Sea beech
Sea hare
Sea horsetail/ sea mare’s-tail
Sea lettuce
Sea mat spp.
Sea noodle
Sea oak
Sea scorpion Taurulus bubalis
Sea spider Achelia spp.
Serrated/toothed wrack
Shore crab
Shore rockling
Small oyster Heteranomia squamula
Small periwinkle Melarhaphe neritoides
Snakelocks anemone
Soft feather weed Plumaria plumosa
Spider crab
Spiny starfish
Spiral wrack
Springtails Anurida maritima
Springtails Collembola spp.
Squat lobster
Star ascidian Botryllus schlosseri
Strawberry anemone
Striped venus clam Chamelea gallina
Surf clam Spisula solida
Thick / toothed topshell Phorcus lineatus
Thick trough shell Spisula solida
Tompot blenny
Toothed crab Pirimela denticulata
Toothed topshell Phorcus lineatus
Velvet swimming crab
Volcano barnacle
Wireweed Sargassum muticum
Wrinkled rock borer Hiatella arctica
Acanthochitona crinita
Anomia ephippium
Bowerbankia spp.
Bugula turbinata
Ceramium deslongchampsii
Cerithiopsis tubercularis
Cladostephus spongiosus
Corallina officinalis
Cystoseira spp.
Desmarestia ligulata
Dictyota dichotoma
Dumontia contorta
Dynamene bidentata
Gracilaria spp.
Heterosiphonia plumosa
Lasaea adansoni
Lasaea rubra
Leucosolenia spp.
Modiolus spp.
Musculus subpictus
Odostomia (Brachystomia)
Pedicellina cernua
Polycera quadrilineata
Polysiphonia spp.
Rissoella diaphana
Scruparia ambigua
Spirorbis spp.
Turbonilla acuta
Turbonilla lactea
Apple spp.
Atlantic ivy
Autumn squill
Bell heather
Black medick
Black mustard
Bluebell spp.
Bog pimpernel
Bracken spp.
Bramble spp. Pteridium spp.
Broad buckler-fern
Burnet rose
Common bent
Common bird’s-foot-trefoil
Common centaury
Common fleabane
Common hogweed
Common knapweed
Common mallow
Common mouse-ear
Common nettle
Common polypody
Common ragwort
Common restharrow
Common sorrel
Common vetch
Creeping buttercup
Creeping thistle
Crested dog’s-tail
Curled dock
Cut-leaved crane’s-bill
Dandelion spp.
English stonecrop
European gorse
False brome Brachypodium sylvaticum
False fox-sedge
False oat-grass
Field bindweed
Field madder
Field scabious
Germander speedwell
Goat willow
Greater plantain
Grey willow
Hairy tare
Hard rush
Hart’s-tongue fern
Hawkweed spp.
Heather Calluna vulgaris
Hedge bedstraw
Hedge woundwort
Hemlock water-dropwort
Hoary willowherb
Kidney vetch
Lady’s bedstraw
Lesser burdock
Lesser trefoil
Lob scrob Lobaria scrobiculata
Lords-and-ladies / cuckoo pint
Male fern
Maritime pine
Marsh thistle
Meadow foxtail
Meadow grass
Meadow vetchling
Mint spp.
Mouse-ear chickweed
Musk thistle
Overleaf pellia
Oxeye daisy
Pale flax
Polypodium spp.
Prickly sow-thistle
Red campion
Red clover
Ribwort plantain
Rough meadow-grass
Royal fern
Scaly male-fern
Scarlet pimpernel
Sea campion
Sea plantain
Shaggy strap lichen Ramalina farinacea
Sheep’s fescue
Slender mouse-tail moss
Smooth hawk’s-beard
Southern marsh orchid
Spear thistle
Spring squill
Sweet chestnut
Trailing St John’s-wort Hypericum humifusum
Trailing tormentil
Tufted vetch
Wall speedwell
Water figwort
Water parsnip
Western gorse
White clover
Wild carrot
Wild thyme
Wood dock
Wood sage
Yellow iris
Evernia prunastri
Flavoparmelia spp.
Graphis spp.
Lecanora spp.
Parmotrema perlatum
Parmotrema spp.
Ramalina farinacea
Ramalina fastigiata
Usnea subfloridana
Xanthoria spp.
Gall caused by mite Eriophyes spinosae

A ruby tailed wasp by Will Hawkes

A ruby tailed wasp by Will Hawkes

Adder by Chris White

Adder by Chris White

Apion pomonae by Will Hawkes

Apion pomonae by Will Hawkes


Photo by Marion Beaulieu

By Pete Maude

Photo by Pete Maude

Golden-ringed dragonfly by Nicola Blewett

Golden-ringed dragonfly by Nicola Blewett

Intertidal exploration by Rob Jutsum

Intertidal exploration by Rob Jutsum

One of the wildlife sessions by Nicola Blewett

Out and about seeking out the wildlife by Nicola Blewett

Pregnant common lizard by Chris White

Pregnant common lizard by Chris White

Red tailed bumblebee by Will Hawkes

Bumblebee mimic hoverfly Volucella bombylans by Will Hawkes

Ringlet by Nicola Blewett

Ringlet by Nicola Blewett

Scarlet tiger moth by Will Hawkes

Scarlet tiger moth by Will Hawkes

Beating around the bush

The past few months have seen the Boscastle to Morwenstow Ranger team plus volunteers getting stuck in with removing invasive plants.

High in the rankings of our “Most Wanted” list is a plant with a fearsome reputation: Himalayan balsam. Its beautiful pink flowers let it charm its way into being a popular garden species, but things never stay were you put them and it has escaped to the country (not the usual episode you’ll see on BBC One). The many thousands of seeds a single plant produces yearly, plus its liking for setting up shop in areas with a nice river-side view gives it a high potential to spread far and wide. Once a seed has been set, it will then out-compete smaller native plants while its shallow roots contribute to river bank erosion.

At the start of the season, the rangers and our volunteers were on our hands and knees along the Valency Valley near Boscastle, trying to find all the small plants hiding amongst the foliage. Later on, the plants grow into monsters, bursting up and towering above the plants (and people) around them.

We gently pull them out, taking care to make sure the roots come too; otherwise they just keep re-growing. The plants are then either ‘hung out to dry’, leaving it off the ground (otherwise it’ll just re-root and our hard work will be for nothing) or piled up and left to compost.

The pulling season was also a great time to see local wildlife; being among the vegetation allowed us to get up close and personal with various plants, wildflowers, fungi and animals. We’ve seen butterflies, dragonflies, demoiselles, moths, bees, beetles, tiny toads, birds, and even a deer. All in all, the experience as a whole, being out in the countryside experiencing nature is one that was not to be missed.

We’re extremely grateful to our dedicated volunteers who braved all weathers to hunt out and remove great numbers of balsam, clocking in a total of over 400 volunteer hours. We managed to cover a length of over 2.5 miles down the valley, with an area totalling over 30 hectares. As to the number of plants we pulled, that number remains a mystery, but I’m sure everyone who was present will agree with me when I say it was A LOT!

Gareth Juleff

Full Time Volunteer Ranger on behalf of the Boscastle to Morwenstow team.


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.


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.


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 National Trust owned beach there. 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 most was the maintenance work in Epphaven as it was something different and interesting rather than just clearing the path. I also learnt 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 realise 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

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
Category – Film & Animation
License – Standard YouTube License

Festival of Archaeology at The OPO

Archaeology jpeg

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.


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.


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.


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!


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