Bubble bath at the seaside

With the recent strong winds, the sea has been churned up and was producing a lot of sea foam at Trebarwith Strand last Friday. The wind was blowing the foam onto the grassy cliffs making it look as though snow was settling.

It’s not the sort of bubbles I would bathe in, but is always humbling to witness the power of nature.

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Caught on camera

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Cornwall Mammal Group have very kindly lent the Tintagel to Holywell ranger team a trail camera and it’s been really useful to find out what the wildlife gets up to when we’re not around!

There is always great anticipation and excitement when we collect the memory card and download the photos and videos. I must admit I got very excited when I saw the video of a badger.

We’re learning what species we have and where, how active they are and at what times of day. For instance we were surprised to discover roe deer in the daytime (as well as at night) in an area we thought would have been too ‘busy’ for them in the daytime.

We’ve learnt who’s eating the fallen apples – foxes, and that some rabbits are very brave, grazing on grass in the same area that the foxes eat the apples – risky business!

Finding out what wildlife we have can help us make informed decisions about the management of our special places. If you spot some wildlife at one of our places, please let us know via email northcornwall@nationaltrust.org.uk or phone us on 01208 863821

It is important that wildlife, both plant and animal, is recorded, even the more common such as limpets, rabbits, thrift and blackthorn so their numbers can be monitored and the areas where they are found can be mapped. You can add your sightings via ORKS (Online wildlife Recording Kernow and Scilly) www.orks.org.uk  a wildlife recording website run by the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (ERCCIS).  All records matter.

 

 

Going batty at Pentireglaze

Over the last few weeks we’ve been going batty at Pentireglaze with three bat night events.

The evening starts with everyone cooking their favourite BBQ food, then whilst chomping on their dinner they listen to a talk about British bats, including the common pipistrelle which is our most common bat and can be seen both in the countryside and in built-up areas, as well as learning about the greater horseshoe bat.

At sunset everyone makes their way up to the cliff top to see greater horseshoe bats emerge from their roost. One of our guests, Erik Raphael managed to capture a bat in flight, a few times, a great achievement as they fly so fast and with a phone camera! Well done Erik and thanks for sharing.

We had bat detectors with us so we could hear their echolocation and that of the common pipistrelle which like to feed in the area too. With over 100 greater horseshoe bats coming out of their roost to feed it is a wonderful sight. And they fly close to us, but don’t land in our hair! They’re far too clever and fast for that.

If you missed out this year there will be a chance to learn about bats and see our greater horseshoes again next summer, just check out our events tab in spring next year and then book early as its a very popular event.

Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell

Busy weekend

On Saturday morning we had 12 volunteers join us for some invasive, non-native Himalayan balsam removal in Rocky Valley, a beautiful valley near Tintagel. The volunteers who were brave enough, went coasteering with Cornish Rock Tors at Port Quin in the afternoon as a thanks for their hard work.

We work in partnership with Cornish Rock Tors and they kindly provided this coasteering session for free.

On Sunday, ranger Tom led a wildflower walk around the stunning Pentire headland near Polzeath. We had over 20 members of the public join us, soaking up the sunshine and all the wildflower knowledge we could. We noted 83 species of flowering plants and grasses as well as various birds, butterflies and insects including a ruby tailed wasp, a banded sexton beetle, oak eggar moth caterpillar and small eggar moth caterpillars. We also saw a fox out in the bright sunshine, but most awesome of all – a pod of dolphins!

To find out what other ranger days and events we have coming up over the next few months, click on the tabs at the top of the page.

Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell

Half-term scrub bash success

VolunteersWe had a brilliant day yesterday with over 20 volunteers of all ages helping us tackle overgrown gorse and blackthorn scrub at Lundy Bay near Polzeath. The sun was shining, the bonfire hot, the jacket spuds cooked to perfection and with toasted marshmallows and a mug of hot chocolate as a thanks for all their hard work, what more could the volunteers want?
Spuds Marshmallows

 


The work is part of an ongoing programme to reduce the amount of scrub and increase the amount of grassland to improve the area for all wildlife – flowers, insects, butterflies, small mammals and birds.

Our last ‘scrub n spuds’ of the winter season are on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 March at Epphaven, near Polzeath. Please get in touch if you would like to come along and help. 01208 863821 sarahe.stevens@nationaltrust.org.uk

Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell

Going batty and rock pool crazy

The Tintagel to Holywell ranger team had a busy August going batty and rock pool crazy with over 200 members of the public over five events.

Only one Bat Night and BBQ had to be postponed for a day due to the wrong sort of weather, otherwise all three bat nights went well. After everyone had enjoyed the BBQ and learnt numerous fascinating facts about bats, they walked up to the coast path to see wonderful sunsets and greater horseshoe bats emerging from their roost at dusk and listen to them echolocating with the aid of some bat detectors. Common pipistrelles were also seen and heard foraging in the area.

The first of the two rock pool rambles was rather a wet one, and not because rock pools are wet, but because the heavens opened as soon as we started to explore the rocky shore! Quite a few people didn’t last long but those that stuck it out were rewarded with finding and learning about lots of amazing sea creatures and with some sunshine towards the end! The 51 people who attended the second rock pool ramble we led in conjunction with Polzeath Marine Conservation Group, were basking in glorious sunshine throughout. Lots of different fish, crabs, anemones, sea slugs, worms, topshells, limpets, barnacles and so much more were discovered and everyone was told a bit more about the creatures they found so they have a better understanding of the way they live and feed.

If you missed out this year, come along to one of our Bat Night and BBQs or Rock Pool Rambles next year. Our events are advertised on this blog, our website and other social media, our Discover North Cornwall leaflet and posters so you should easily be able to find out more details early next year!

Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell

 

 

So much to do, so little time….

Overgrown path

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).

Path cuttingPath cutting

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Ragwort pulling

 

 

 

 

 

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!

West PentireArable plant survey

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Pyramidal orchid

Pyramidal orchid

Newt survey

 

 

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 sarahe.stevens@nationaltrust.org.uk or phone 01208 863821

Sarah Stevens, Ranger, Tintagel to Holywell