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).
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.
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!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01208 863821
Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell