The River Camel continues to gain in popularity with the public as a cycle track and is of interest to the many groups involved with natural history, birdwatching etc. in the area. This has proved to be a great boost for the town of Wadebridge. Consequently, the traders have benefited and the town is noticeably buzzing with life, not only in the summer months but at each end of the tourist season.
The Camel Valley and its tributaries are set to become designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, as they support otters and bullhead fish. The site also contains important areas of heathland, wet meadows and ancient semi-natural woodlands. The landowners and other interested parties are being consulted at this time. We ask all Trust members to encourage all involved to make the SSSI a reality.
A member of the Camel Branch Committee has been awarded a Countryside Stewardship grant for his patch at Tregellist by MAFF. He has completed a list of invertebrates and has a ten-year biodiversity plan.
During the summer, the branch ran a stall at a number of events around the Liskeard area. We raised funds for both the Trust and the branch but, more importantly, we helped to raise the profile of the Trust among our members and the general public. We received many enquiries regarding the Trust and distributed membership forms. It is our intention to repeat this next year, hopefully moving around the district more, and we look forward to meeting more of our members as we do so. The last-but-one event we attended - St Matthew’s Fair in Liskeard - was memorable in that we won third prize in the charity stall section. Our thanks go to Gail and David Cory, who took our stall to all the events attended, setting up and running it mostly on their own. More help would be appreciated!
One way in which we have decided to use some of the funds raised is to establish a prize, as part of the annual Liskeard in Bloom competition, for the Best Wildlife Garden. In addition to the "cup", there will be one year’s free Trust membership for the winner. So if you live in the Liskeard area and you feel you have a worthy wildlife garden (or section of your garden), please enter. Who knows, you may be the winner?
How wild does your garden grow? Caradon Branch would like to know, and tips are available from Trust HQ to anyone wanting to grow wilder. Illustration: Sally Hawkins
What a successful summer programme we had.
A bat watch at Pendarves Wood led by Daniel Eva was well attended. Daniel met Malcolm, Warden for Pendarves, early in the evening so that they could survey the 32 bat boxes. Although no roosting bats were found, there was plenty of evidence that they had used the boxes previously. One particular box caused much excitement to Daniel, as it had been used for breeding.
Bats were evident over the lake, and listening to Daniel talk about them was fascinating. But as dusk fell across the lake, talk turned from bats to ghosts, and we all gladly trooped back down through the reserve, torches blazing.
Our butterfly walk, led by Steve Hoskin, attracted our regular supporters and, we are pleased to say, some new faces joined us for this very pleasant stroll over Gwithian Towans in search of butterflies and wild flowers - both of which were in abundance. Good company and a lovely picnic made for a very enjoyable day.
As a footnote, these events are open to all members of the Trust and the general public, not just branch members. Their success depends on you joining us and giving us your support. We have many silent members in Kerrier, so come on and join us. Put your thinking caps on and tell us what you would like to do. Give us your ideas, help and support.
We invite you to our AGM (details in diary). The branch needs more help on our reserves, more help and ideas on our committees and more publicity. Come along - we need you! Remember, our branch can only be as successful as you make it.
Late summer was quiet apart from our monthly walks. The formula for these has proved quite popular, with short distances, a combination of local history and natural history, great countryside and informal stops for refreshments. Unfortunately, the event given the most preparation - an invitation to a remote section of moorland at Bolventor - was washed out at the start by torrential rain. The Trust and the Cornwall Archaeological Unit both supplied information, and our hosts had prepared a banquet! We will return, hopefully in better weather. The walks start again in the spring, this time on Saturdays.
Our one evening talk over this period was on local rivers and streams. Sonia Thurley of the Environment Agency treated an audience of about 25 peopleto an enthusiastic presentation on conservation issues relating to local watercourses. The interactive audience was encouraged by the attention being given to conservation, and was interested in Sonia’s ideas for holding up natural water flows from land to reduce pollution, maintain more uniform river flows, reduce flooding and preserve riverbank habitat. We were reluctant to let her go home!
Attention is currently being focused on forming a team of people that will do practical work within our local area. Restoration work at Truscott village pond has been delayed until February.
We have started to interact more closely with other local branches, particularly Caradon, to learn from each other about running branches and serving members’ needs.
We have held a couple of well-attended events recently. The first was a beach foray at Cape Cornwall. Lots of fish and crabs were found in the rock pools, and one person was bitten by a velvet swimming crab, much to everyone’s amusement.
Our most recent event was the fungus foray at Pendarves Wood, held jointly with Kerrier Branch. Some interesting fungi were found there - less of the common and more of the rare. This was put down to weather patterns over the last few months.
Now that winter is upon us, and we are enjoying the warmth of our fires, we should pause for thought and consider the birds that are busy searching for food. One thing we can all do is to put food out for the birds over the winter months. The other thing we can do is to plant some berry-bearing shrubs. Holly, berberis, pyracantha, hawthorn and cotoneaster are all attractive shrubs which supply an abundance of berries for the birds’ needs. There are lots of other garden plants that are beneficial to our wildlife and there are some very good wildlife gardening books on the market.
We are holding a few winter events and everyone, including non-members, is most welcome.
A group of Restormel members met on Porthpean Beach after travelling on the quietest roads since Christmas (due to the Princess of Wales’ funeral ). It reminded us of Sundays long ago. We were led by the very enthusiastic Dr David Guiterman, who discussed the finer points of barnacles, winkles and seaweeds. Amongst other things, we learned that seashore life is far from static, and that the interaction of seagulls, crabs and limpets is far more dynamic than most of us would have guessed! Dr Guiterman nearly departed with a live starfish on his hat, which was not as memorable as one member’s wet foot! Very many thanks to Dr Guiterman for a superb day and we all look forward to another seashore outing.
Kathy and John Turner
At our well-attended indoor meeting on 28th October, Hazel Meredith and I showed slides of the diversity of wild flowers to be found on the limestone-rich Oland in Sweden and in Crete.
Congratulations must go out to all the Restormel members for responding so well to the Prideaux Wood appeal. The wood lies at the end of the Luxulyan Valley, north of St Blazey, and is home to some of our rare bats: the greater horseshoe uses the old mine workings. With your donations, this important wood will now be a nature reserve for ever. Please, please keep your donations coming in, as funds will still be needed to help towards management and to make some of the old mine site safe before we can allow access to the public. Well done to everyone involved.
We regret that our Chairman, Maurice Rayner, has had to resign for personal reasons, and we thank him for all his hard work on our behalf. Arline Hansen will act as Chairman pending the AGM in January.
Our annual sale at the Bude "triangle" raised over £70.
I wish more members would come on our summer outings! A select trio joined the Atkinsons last August to explore bogland and moor near Ninestones Bridge. First we saw an adder - between Tony’s feet! Then a sloughed skin was found. Less surprising was sundew, ferns and hoards of tiny frogs.
Moving upwards, moorwards and back in time, we saw tin workings, hut circles and barrows, and a superb 360-degree view over Colliford, Dozmary and the tors; 180 degrees were covered with rain-clouds, which soon ruined our lunch! Moving downhill, we found medieval boundary lines, field systems and longhouses, and saw buzzards, stonechat, emperor and fox moth caterpillars and various butterflies.
Our first autumn meeting featured David Williams’ wildlife cruise in the Falklands and Antarctica. Instructions were not to go within 15 feet of the penguins - nobody told the penguins, resulting in some entertaining slides. On a grander scale, we marvelled at the size and shapes of the icebergs and learnt a lot about life in the Falkland Islands.
I was privileged to help represent this branch at the unveiling of the memorial to Christopher Cadbury at Marsland Mouth, but have been scolded by "our editor" twice for exceeding my word allowance last time, so must ....
Much appreciated - 250 words exactly! Thank you all for your co-operation - less staff time spent on editing means more time for conservation. Mark