As well as the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB) and the Natural Trust helping to protect the Cornish countryside which I talked about in last weeks blog, I read this week in the February edition of Cornwall Today about the Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) which has 57 nature reserves. These reserves comprise 5,500 hectares and are unique wildlife havens are either owned directly or managed by the CWT.  On their website you can see where these are  There are two on the Lizard, Windmill Farm (200 acres) and North Predannack Downs (90 acres).

I had heard of the Windmill Farm reserve though I am ashamed to say we have not visited it yet but interesting to read that there is a second reserve on the Lizard.

The Windmill Farm National Nature Reserve is a 200 acre site which is jointly owned by CWT and Cornwall Birdwatching and Preservation Society (CBWPS). As well as being an interesting site for fauna and flora, it has a rich archaeological heritage ranging from Bronze Age Remains, Mediaeval field boundaries, 18th Century tenements and crofts, WW2 pillboxes and a famous Lizard landmark – the windmill.

You can climb the windmill tower and get great views of the reserve from the viewing platform at the top. The windmill tower was restored a few years ago as a result of a long campaign run by the wife of a man who loved windmill farm, Cait Hutchings. It was done in the memory of her beloved husband Stuart who worked for the CWT for 20 years and was a keen birdwatcher. What a lovely story.

There are lots of walking trails that take you through heathland, arable fields, wetlands and past ponds.  There is also a meandering stream that defines much of the western border of the reserve. Thus a variety of habitats for wildlife. There are a number of hides where you can watch birds from. If wet it is sensible to wear Wellies!

To find Windmill Farm follow the A3083 Lizard road (from Helston) and a mile and a half past the turning for Mullion look out for a sign that says “Wild Camping” on the right hand side. Then follow the lane down to the Farm.

The other nature reserve North Predannack Down is apparently comprises unique heathlands with unusual geology, mostly Serpentinite rock, and exceptional plant life. This reserve is prime Cornish heath with pools and wet willow woodland. Early Bronze Age barrows are present and there are several ancient ‘turf-hut’ circles. Amazing! There are remains of buildings likely to have been used during the Second World War. See the website above for directions.

Picture by David Chapman on the CWT website.

I mentioned in a recent blog the shocking news that Cornwall species have declined since 1980 bees (across 23 species) by 44%, wasps 71%, butterflies (across 36 species) by 47%. But there is some good news in 2018 for some animal/bird species in Cornwall as highlighted by the CWT:

  • Beaves released into the wild near Truro have had two babies and their antics were shown on the final episode of Springwatch 2018 which I sadly missed.
  • A UK tagging programme recorded a number of Blue Fin Tuna
  • Crayfish (spiny lobsters) have returned in numbers unmatched since the 1970s.
  • A small red eyed damselfly was seen near St Keverne on the Lizard and has never previously been seen in Cornwall
  • A new species of dragonfly the Southern Migrant Hawker was found on the Windmill Farm Reserve which makes a total of 20 species of dragonfly and damselfly found here
  • Cornish Choughs continue to breed successfully (mentioned in a previous blog)
  • A Nathusius pippestrella bat is now a resident in Cornwall previously it was a migratory species passing through
  • Similarly a small pod of Bottlenose dolphins are now proven after years of research to be a resident pod of Cornwall

Another highlight for the CWT is that 30,000 miles!! of Cornish hedges were mapped using advances in technology and satellite imagery providing a wealth of information for research and conservation

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