National Trust – Roseland and Veryan Bay – September 2016

THE NATIONAL TRUST – ROSELAND AND VERYAN BAY

The volunteer group enjoyed two glorious August days working to restore flower-rich cliffs and fields.

Sadly, no photographs – but images of two memorable workdays might be evoked by this October’s newsletter. On both days volunteers relaxed with crib and then picnic lunches in warm sun, under blue skies, and above equally blue seas. Their tasks had involved removing vegetation (and therefore nutrients) in an attempt to reduce soil fertility: wild flowers flourish in soil with low nutrient levels.

In early August we met at Kiberick car park and walked to the steep, bracken-covered cliffs of the Blouth, each of us carrying a pitchfork. Caragloose Farm and Broom Parc were just visible on our left, and to the north east across Veryan Bay was Dodman Point. Our group of ten was alone in a beautiful, but fairly remote landscape.

The Rangers had cut the bracken a fortnight before and left it to dry. Harry and Jen showed us how to line up across the cliff, then use our pitchforks to rake the bracken into one long sausage. The idea was to get enough bracken into the sausage so that it would roll down the cliff under its own steam until stopped by a hedge of blackthorn. A strong wind that day helped our bracken sausages to take off – adding to the fun of this hilarious activity.

Our next workday was similar in principle but location, vegetation and population made a big difference. Towan Field, above the beach, is a level site, home to the rare, solitary Long Horned Mining Bee. The long term aim here is to restore a flower-rich hay meadow. Holidaymakers were heading to the beach, fascinated by the pitchforks – what on earth were we doing? The Rangers had previously cut the hay – strictly speaking not hay, just dry grass full of hogweed and docks, but over time nutrients in the weeds and therefore the soil will be removed if the management practice continues. We used our pitchforks to make piles of hay which were later forked onto a trailer and driven away by Phil, Harry and Emma. The hay was placed under trees near Porth, creating habitats for invertebrates.

This time our work was rewarded with ice creams from Seth’s van, a treat indeed, together in the knowledge that one day visitors to the beach might enjoy the sight of wild flowers, butterflies and other nectar-loving insects.

If you’d like to join us each month, please contact Harriet.Davies@nationaltrust.org.uk

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