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

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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.

MDD 2.6.16 Josse (43)

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

MDD 2.6.16 Josse (62)

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

MDD 2.6.16 Josse (42)

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

 

Make hay while the sun shines

After heavy downpours through the night we were relieved to work under glorious sunshine the next day at Lundy Bay. With the help of our band of volunteers we raked up all the grass that we had been cutting recently as part of our nature conservation management at¬†this wildlife rich site¬†near Polzeath. Each late summer the vegetation in the meadows and glades¬†is cut down after the majority of flowers have set seed. By raking up and removing the cut material from the ground, it prevents the grassland becoming over-enriched as it composts down. By reducing nutrients this way the habitat is opened up for a diverse range of species rather than aggressive ones taking over and shading out some of the more delicate plants and flowers. With the added bonus of coming face to face with some of the local wildlife and enjoying a picnic ploughman’s lunch to thank our volunteers for their efforts, an enjoyable day was had by all. Check our other North Cornwall events and volunteer days and join us next time.

Mike – Lead ranger

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Geology walk at Tintagel

Bossiney Cove

There are still spaces on our guided walk next Wednesday 16 September. If you want to know your Tintagel Volcanic Formations from your Willapark Thrusts, or to see some tuffs and lavas or even an Elephant Rock, all will be revealed by our expert guide Jane Anderson. The walk is from 1 pm until about 3.30, meeting at the car park at Bossiney and costs £3 per head payable on the day. You can book your place by calling the NT Property Office on 01208 863046

Mike – Lead ranger

Marine Discovery Day is a winner!

Yesterday the Tintagel to Holywell ranger team were part of yet another highly successful Marine Discovery Day event held at Polzeath. After a brief downpour and some testing breezes to get the marquees set up in, our worries were over as the day settled into a glorious sunny one and the hundreds of half-term holiday beachgoers called by the various stalls and activities to see what was going on throughout the day. A huge thanks to all the groups, organisations and local businesses who joined us to make it such a success – Polzeath Marine Conservation Group, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Marine Conservation Society, BeachCare, the Shark Trust, Cornwall Seal Group, RNLI Lifeguards, Badger Forest School and National Coastwatch Institute, & author Laura Frances Martin.
Mike – Lead Ranger

Lackey moths

Keen eyed walkers or gardeners may have noticed these caterpillars recently. These are the caterpillars of the lackey moth (Malacosoma neustria).
In May and June they gather in large numbers, usually on blackthorn or hawthorn bushes, spinning large silken webs within which they feed on the leaves of the plant. They also spend time basking together on the outside of the webs. On closer inspection the larvae are beautifully coloured with alternating orange, brown, blue and white stripes down their bodies. The adult moth is less dramatic being a sandy brown colour and is in flight during mid to late summer, before laying its eggs around the stem of the host plant.
Mike – Lead Ranger

Bluebell bonanza

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Right now is the time to get out and about on the coast path and witness one of those seasonal magic moments. At Pentire Head the bluebells are looking their best, with parts of the cliff swathed in the blue flowers. Bluebells are more often associated with woodland, but are also common on unimproved grasslands. In the warm, moist climate of the south west bluebells can thrive too on the more sheltered aspects of the cliffs. Careful management with scrub cutting and then grazing prevents the grasslands being over run with gorse, thorn, brambles and aggressive grasses, instead allowing space for our delicate coastal wildflowers to flourish. The photos here were taken in the meadow just east of Lead Mines on the coast path towards Lundy Bay.
Of course there are dozens more different species of flower starting to bloom on the coast – do you know your spring squill from your kidney vetch, or sea campion from birds-foot trefoil? If you would like to brush up on your wild flower knowledge and find out more about how the Trust manages these amazing maritime grasslands join us on our Wildflower Guided Walk around Pentire on Sunday 14 June at 10am. Book your places on 01208 863046. Click on the events tab above to find full details.
Mike – Lead ranger