Coffee Lovers Invited…..

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This was the Boscastle National Trust Cafe, in the set up before we opened nine years ago.

In January 2018 we are closing for a refit, a lick of paint and a new feel to how we do things. And we are already thinking about putting a team together for the reopening and the year ahead.

Do you enjoy working as part of a fast paced, passionate team? Do you enjoy helping people and want to provide great customer service? If so, we want YOU!

We have part time seasonal flexible positions and a part time permanent annualised position up for grabs. For further information and to apply, check out the National Trust Jobs website, look for job refs. IRC58195 (link) for the part time permanent job and IRC58178 (link) for the part time seasonal job.

Ever thought about going on a National Trust Working Holiday?

 

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The working holiday crew above Porth Mear valley

If you have no idea what a working holiday is or you’re not sure whether it would be your sort of thing, here’s a taster of what a working holiday would be like in North Cornwall.

In early October, the National Trust Tintagel to Holywell ranger team was joined by 13 people from across the country who had signed up for a Cornish working holiday. Staying at the Beach Head Bunkhouse at Park Head a few miles west of Padstow, the working holiday involved a good mix of conservation work with the rangers and time off to explore the area.

The conservation task planned for the week was predominantly some reed bed management, reed bed being a Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat and quite a rare habitat in North Cornwall. It’s home to all sorts of wildlife so it is very important to look after it. The down time activities included sampling the local cream teas, soaking up a sunset on a cliff top walk and braving a surfing or coasteering session. It was going to be a busy week!

Arriving on Monday evening, the guests were given a warm welcome in the bunkhouse by our working holiday leaders.  Waking bright and early on Tuesday and following a hearty breakfast, the team, along with a few of the rangers and regular volunteers, headed down to Porth Mear to get stuck into some reed bed management. Areas of the reed bed are cut every autumn (after the breeding season to avoid disturbing nesting birds and other wildlife) in order to stimulate fresh new growth the following year. The team set to work armed with slashers, strimmers, forks, rakes and even a rugged motor mower, cutting down the reeds and other scrub and piling it up.

It is important not to let the cut material rot down where it is, as this results in a high level of nutrients in the soil that is not beneficial to reed beds, usually resulting in it becoming overgrown with more aggressive plants such as brambles and bindweed. As it was not practical to remove the vast amounts of cut vegetation being produced, we started two fires which were lovingly tended and kept topped up for the rest of the day – although the ensuing clouds of smoke did lend the whole scene a somewhat apocalyptic atmosphere!

Practical habitat management is thirsty work, and we were kept hydrated and warm with regular tea breaks complete with hot drinks courtesy of two wood powered Kelly kettles.  At the end of the day the team climbed the hill back up to the bunkhouse, having cleared a huge area of land, with the two fenced-off bonfires still smouldering.

On Wednesday, the team had the opportunity to try out something a bit more adventurous with a couple of our ambassador outdoor activity businesses. Six people split off to join Big Green Surf School for a surf lesson at Crantock beach, and the other eight headed off to try out coasteering with Cornish Rock Tors. In the morning the surfers headed to Holywell beach to do a litter pick, and then went on to Crantock after a brief stop off at local bakery for fortifying pasties and pies. Although the weather was cold and wet, and the seas choppy, a good time was had by all – with varying amounts of surfing success – and a grey seal even came to watch! After a long walk back to the car park carrying surfboards, an exhausted group voted to head back to the bunkhouse.

Cornish Rock Tors operate out of the picturesque natural harbour at Port Gaverne, near the Doc Martin famous Port Isaac. Unfortunately, the sea conditions weren’t ideal for coasteering this week with some wild swell rolling in. This meant the remaining 8 team members were whisked off to a bad weather venue at the nearby flooded Tregildrans quarry, surrounded by autumnal oak trees. Here they got the chance to try out stand up paddle boarding, messing about in a canoe and a few adrenaline-pumping jumps from the rocky quarry walls.

Thursday dawned with Cornish sunshine and blue skies. We split the team again, with some folks finishing off raking and burning the reeds we had already cut in Porth Mear valley. The other half were set to work undertaking repairs to the South West Coast Path for the benefit of the thousands of walkers who walk it each year. With mattocks and spades they installed drains to reduce water erosion and leveled the path where it had become uneven and worn.

With the work complete, there was still just about enough time to head off over to the nearby Carnewas tea rooms for a cream tea overlooking the beach at Bedruthan Steps. Making the most of the good weather, the team also squeezed in a quick walk on Trevose Head that evening as the sun went down over the north coast.

Come Friday morning the team were getting ready to say goodbye to each other and head their separate ways. Working holidays are a great way to meet new people and firm friendships are often forged in the short space of a week. Working holidays are also really useful for getting conservation work done as there are often tasks that require many hands. In this case it was the raking and burning of cut reeds from the reed bed but there are any number of other tasks that just require lots of willing volunteers. With the extra help it’s great from our point of view to see how quickly the reed bed was tidied up where it would usually take the rangers at least three times as long.

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Thanks for all the hard work!

 

If you’re interested in the idea of getting outdoors and helping out with some conservation work, meeting new people and experiencing a completely different style of holiday, why not have a look on our National Trust Working Holidays website? Currently the working holidays are divided up into 11 different categories including archaeology, rural skills, farming, historic houses and coast and countryside to name a few, so there’s always the possibility that you might find something that really ticks the box for you. Equally we tend to find there’s always a good age range represented on these holidays, so age should be no barrier to you signing up!

Thanks again to everybody who came on the working holiday in North Cornwall this year. It was great to meet you all and we couldn’t have achieved half as much of the conservation work without you. See you next time?

Tintagel to Holywell ranger team

We’re looking for a Visitor Experience Assistant in Boscastle

20170819_084852428Do you love working with people from all ages and backgrounds? Can you provide service with a smile to thousands of customers, every day? Come and work with a great team, in a beautiful location. We’re looking for a full time Visitor Experience Assistant in Boscastle, North Cornwall. With engaging stories to tell, there’s always something to share with our visitors, and it will be you job to make sure we’re doing that all year round. For information, and how to apply, visit HERE

What do rangers do on their days off?

Spend time outdoors of course!

One of the reasons rangers are rangers is because we love being outdoors.

The National Trust was lucky enough to take ownership of Trevose Head near Padstow last September. Every time I have been there since and walked passed Mother Ivey’s Bay I have been telling myself that I must get down to the beach there at low tide to explore. So that’s exactly what I did the other day on a day off, and here’s some photos and videos of what I found:

Camouflaged limpets

Can you see the two limpets? (They’re covered in barnacles).

Celtic sea slug cuddle

Is this how Celtic sea slugs cuddle?

Dog whelk diner

Dog whelk diner. On today’s menu – mussels.

Dog whelks have been here

This is how mussels look after dog whelks have eaten the insides. The dog whelk makes the very neat hole in the mussel shell to access the flesh inside.

Dog whelks of various colours

Dog whelks come in a variety of colours.

Leave only footprints

Leave only footprints. You can see where the limpets have been moving around on the rock.

There's a limpet under there

Dressed limpet – seaweed and barnacles to disguise it, but weighty?

Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell

To see photos of the places we look after and what we do, follow me on Instagram @nationaltrustranger

West Pentire Wows

 

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A little earlier than some years, the warm Spring has brought forward the flowering of the poppies at West Pentire. As photographed here, some of the fallow plots already have incredible displays of common poppy, with corn marigolds starting to bloom too. We manage the arable fields here specifically as a wildflower reserve and the land is not commercially farmed. Careful planning and a rotational system of ploughing and cultivating helps ensure that the huge numbers of cornfield annuals that occur here, with dozens of rare species amongst them, come back every year. Hopefully this week’s rather more hostile weather won’t spoil the show too much, but now and for the next few weeks will be the time to go and witness this spectacle. Please help us with our conservation of the site by staying on the main paths and field margins rather than trampling the plants for a closer look.              West Pentire headland can be found beyond the village of Crantock just south of Newquay.

Mike – Lead Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell

Marine Discovery Day 2017

Thursday 1 June saw Polzeath beach occupied by more than just holiday makers enjoying the half-term sunshine; several marquees dotted the beach for the annual Marine Discovery Day. This day seeks to inform and educate the public about the sea which is so much a part of life down here on the Cornish coast. Along with the National Trust, other groups included Surfers Against Sewage, Your Shore Beach Rangers, Fathoms Free, Cornwall Seal Group and Polzeath Marine Conservation Group among others.

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In the Trust stall we had a few activities, including our ever popular wildlife quiz, where both children and adults had two minutes to test their knowledge on coastal plants and animals. It’s always fascinating to see the range of knowledge among people (with the children often outperforming the adults!) but everyone left knowing a little more than before they started.

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Another popular activity was the driftwood art in which children of all ages were able to paint and glue what they wished onto a driftwood board, tied with some washed-up beach rope so they can display it proudly at home. This proved so popular that by midday we had run out of boards and were forced to move onto driftwood sticks, which also proved popular, while a colleague quickly ran back to the office to gather up some more boards!

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However, the highlight of the day was the sand sculpture competition. Although supposed to start at 1pm, people were so eager that we allowed them to start early. What is so amazing about this event is the level of creativity and passion everyone brings to it. While walking round you overheard some of the proposed plans and ideas people had as a sculpture idea, and couldn’t help but think some of them were too ambitious. But coming back a little while later it was clear to see that people were attempting and succeeding in bringing their creations to life.

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Next came what had to be the most difficult part of the day: judging. Bringing together a couple of people from the other stalls, it was up to us to whittle down and sort the entries into a first, second and third; not an easy task with the high standard of sculptures! The judges pondered and deliberated but after a tense discussion, we had made our decision. And so here are the winning entries.

3rd: Moana.  Chosen not only for the intricacy and level of detail in the sculpture, but also for the message of female empowerment and ocean conservation it brings.

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2nd: Giant shore crab. Chosen for the sheer scale of the piece. As can be seen in the photo, the sculpture was an impressively sized piece, and the level of effort that went into creating it impressed the judges.

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1st: Seal rock. Although not as grand in scale as the previous entry; the design of the piece, incorporating multiple seals, stood out from the other entries. What really secured this piece in first place was the moving story from the young girl who created it. She was absolutely taken with seals, having a room full of cuddly seals back home. Earlier in the week she had gone out on a boat trip and saw seals on an island, so when it came to creating a sculpture she knew exactly what she was going to make. This passion for wildlife, particularly coastal species, is exactly what the spirit of Marine Discovery Day is all about, and resonated with all the judges present, making it the winning entry.

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Unfortunately not everyone can be a winner, but the judges were impressed by all the entries and so below you’ll find a couple of honourable mentions.

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And so we are finished for another year. Hopefully we can make next years’ event bigger and better and we look forward to seeing what new sculptures will grace the beach! We hope everyone this year had as much fun as we did!

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Gareth Juleff

Assistant Ranger

Tintagel to Holywell