Special interest groups
So our churchyard was to be officially
"closed". No more burials, and its care
handed over to Restormel District
Council. Some people heaved a sigh of
relief, others worried. The Council could
provide efficiency but not the loving
care which the churchyard had always
had, and which they felt it needed. And
what about the environmental aspect'?
What about chemicals? What about
strimmers cutting everything within
sight to a uniform length'? Something
had to be done.
And it has been done! The Luxulyan
Churchyard Pmject has been born, in
which a group of volunteers work
together with the Council. What could
be better'? Everybody benefits. The
Council provides expertise and the kind
of work too expensive or difficult for us
volunteers to do, such as managing the
trees, making a new path or cutting the
grass, and has assured us that chemicals
will only be used as a very last resort.
Meanwhile, we send the Council reports
based on the work we do as a "group
once a month, and individually when we
can, so it is kept in touch with the
All in all, it's becoming most rewarding:
the school is getting involved, a
memorial seat is being donated,' we are
proud to display a "living churchyard"
poster in the church porch', volunteers
with a Council colleague attended a
workshop day at Kenwyn', and we've
even registered with Restormel as an
Agenda 21 project.
So if you live near a "closed"
churchyard and would enjoy working in
it, take heart!
Church warden at St Cyriac and St
Common frog (left) and common toad but how common are they now?
Photo Stuart Hutchings
Reptile & Amphibian Group
I'm currently drafting a Habitat Action
Plan for standing open fresh water (ponds
and lakes) as part of the South West
Regional Biodiversity Initiative and one
thing that s become very obvious is our
lack of information on ponds - how many
there are, what wildlife they support and
which are the most important. Without
such basic knowledee. it's difficult to
One of CRAG's aims has been to gather
that information, but to be honest we've
failed so far. Now I'm hoping to get
together with the dragonfly experts,
birders. stonewort fanciers and others to
"pool" our knowledge.
On a positive note, our amphibian and
reptile work continues to generate a lot
of public interest and we have played a
key role in supporting the development
of "RAGs" across the South West.
Many of us were shaken back in
November by the Penzance earthquake.
a little twitch of the earth's crust. On
16th March we all have a chance to see
some of Cornwall's strata dancing to
Padstow's May Song. I doubt that even
Padstonians would claim that their
beautifully invasive song could make
the earth move, but with the slight aid of
video technology it does. Tune in to
Postcards from the Past, the last of the
current Natural World series (unless it is
moved yet again) and see the
phenomenon. Certainly more than a
trifling 3.) on the Richter scale!
At the RIGS AGM, Roger Jones, the
pmducer, gave us a preview of much of
the programme. Cornish heath, dyer's
eagles, hawk jets,
scorpions yes, all
included as well as
Tor, tinstone, ice ages.
tolds and faults. I
hope you will watch,
and if you enjoy the
programme you will
write to the BBC and
then we might have
more geology on the box ... as well as
more quirky programmes. Sex and
violence in the Serengeti it is not.
The RIGS display, designed by Sarah
McCartney, has been admired in
London at Burlington House (in the
Geological Society's accommodation),
in Bristol at the anniversary symposium
of the West of England Geologists'
Association, and at Wadebridge at the
annual conference of the Farming and
Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG).
The Royal Institution Christmas lectures
this year are by Simon Conway-Morris
on The History in our Bones -
complementing last year's Planet Earth.
an Explorer's Guide.
The new colony of greater horseshoes
reported in the last Wild Cornwall has
turned out to be lesser horseshoe bats.
Not quite as endangered but still very
interesting. This colony peaked at 92
bats in late July and is the second-largest
colony of this species in Cornwall.
Bats would appear to have had a poor
breeding season due to the very late
spring. with numbers down at most
roosts counted. However, the mild
autumn has meant that bats are still
flyin" and feeding in early November.
An interesting recent record was of a bat
caught by a fishing rod at Dunmere
Bridge, Bodmin, in late September.
This turned out to be a female noctule
and is making a good recovery.
How to make a pond |