Wildlife Groundswell July & August -23

Hope you’re all well and having a good summer, despite the recent wild weather. We love all things wild, but…

Read on for a dose of proper summer (butterflies, wildflowers and clifftop walks), some events THIS WEEK (scroll down!) and a positive look ahead to autumn with our annual conference, Air & Fire, in September.


Annual Conference:
Let’s Get Wild – Air and Fire

Saturday 23 September, 09:30 – 21:30, Rosuick Farm

Join us for our annual conference to looking at the state of Nature on the Lizard Peninsula. For everyone who cares about wildlife and what we can do to help it thrive.

This year’s programme

Along with Gillian Burke (BBC Springwatch), Zoe Smith (Westcountry Rivers Trust), Sarah Board, Stephen Townsend and Chris Waddle (Natural England), Matthew Oates (entomologist), Dougie Handford (Cornwall Council Nature Recovery team) and others (see the full programme), we’ll be exploring these questions and more:

  • What does healthy air mean to us and to other species?
  • What effect does fire have on our lives, and that of wildlife?
  • How is wildlife on the Lizard now, and how can we look after it better?
  • How is our wildlife facing warming temperatures and extreme weather events?
  • What about species that fly like butterflies, birds, bats and insects? What can we do to help them?
  • Why are insects important to us, what hazards do they face and what we can do to boost their numbers?
  • How can we save our land from drying out in the future?
  • What do we have to do to give nature a chance to heal?
  • Most importantly, how can we work together to safeguard the future, and make sure our grandchildren wonder at the beauty of butterflies, moths, bats, swallows and swifts?

Come and learn, and share your thoughts, your worries, your ideas and your dreams. Have conversations, make new connections, learn about nature photography…then cut loose and dance to a live funk/ rock/ blues band in the evening. Plus evening bar and delicious street food from Saffron Huns.

We’re all in this together. Let’s get together. Let’s Get Wild!

Tickets are £5, FREE for under-16s. Lunchtime pasties are £5, and must be pre-ordered (you can do this when you book your ticket).

Air and Fire ‘fringe’ events

16-22 September, locations TBC

In the week leading up to the conference, we’re organising some other wildlife-focused activities – from a beach clean at Kennack Sands to a hedgerow walk with an ornithologist, a bat walk and wildlife photography workshops. Have any other ideas or want to help organise the conference? Come to our next planning meeting on 17 August – email us for details.
Watch this space for dates and booking information for these events – and follow us on social media:


Wildlife Groundswell signs plastic-free pledge

Wildlife Groundswell is committed to being plastic-free as far as possible for events, not using single-use plastics, reusing or recycling wherever possible, and using recycled materials. We’re keen to raise awareness and support plastic-free initiatives in the community, so were very happy to sign this Surfers Against Sewage pledge at the invitation of Plastic Free Helford River.

Wildlife Groundswell joins Linking the Lizard

Representatives of Wildlife Groundswell attended our first Linking the Lizard meeting on 14 June with our new partners from Cornwall AONB, Natural England, the National Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the National Farmers Union and the University of Exeter.
Maggie Freegard presented the aims and vision of Wildlife Groundswell, emphasising that we think it’s essential to work together for the best possible results – so joining the Linking the Lizard partnership is a great step forward.
After the morning meeting, we took a walk around the National Trust fields at Gunwalloe and learned how they manage the meadows to conserve unique flora. It was a great opportunity to mix and network with colleagues committed to local nature recovery, and enjoy that glorious coastal landscape.


Help Ospreys return

Kernow Conservation is raising money to help ospreys return as a breeding bird to Cornwall. All donations will be match funded by Save Our Wild Isles.
Historic records show that the osprey bred in Cornwall – including some building their large nests on cliffs, rather than trees. At present, you’re only likely to see them in Cornwall during the spring and autumn migration periods, as they travel between their breeding grounds further north and wintering areas in sub-Saharan Africa.

Cornwall Beaver Project fundraiser for Helman Tor

Wednesday 9 August, walks 11am and 2pm, Woodland Valley Farm

You’re invited on a ‘wild day out’, with guided walks (£10) and an optional BBQ (£15) at 12.30pm. All money raised from the guided walks, tea, coffee and cakes will be donated tothe Rewilding Helman Tour Appeal. There will be a presentation during lunch where you can find out more on our ongoing work at Helman Tor and the bold plans to rewild this beautiful landscape.

Cornwall Butterfly Conservation walk and count

Sunday 13 August, 11amWindmill Farm Nature Reserve

Join the volunteer ranger and hope to see late summer butterflies, including the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and the Grayling, and, around the pools, dragonflies, and damselflies. There is also the chance of seeing Marsh Fritillary larval webs.
Windmill Farm is a 85ha (210 acre) farm that’s home to an array of habitats including wet and dry heaths, hay meadows, wetland, ponds, and arable land. Bought jointly by the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society and Cornwall Wildlife Trust (CWT) in 2001, its mix of habitats means the farm is home to a huge variety of plant, bird, and invertebrate species.
Meet at the car park by the windmill which is down a lane off the A3083 (SW693152) TR12 7LH. Please bring a packed lunch, and note that dogs are not allowed anywhere on this site. Leader and contact: Sue Allen (01872 240246) and Dougy Wright CWT volunteer warden


Wilder Lizard: stream testers’ update

Our group of stream testers had our second get together in Mawgan Village Hall on 13 June – this time with Zoe Smith from Westcountry Rivers Trust. 22 testers taking part in this citizen science project came along – and in total, we’re now logging results on Cartographer for 41 sites, which is amazing! From general water quality on the Lizard to how to select a good site to test, read more in our new blog post.

National Meadows Day Safari

On Saturday 1 July, a good crowd of more than 70 people were entranced by stunning meadows in three locations on and around the Lizard: Goongillings Farm near Constantine, Kestle Barton near Helford and Windmill Farm near Lizard Village. Birds and insects joined us all the way – from swallows, bumblebees, butterflies to rare European Field Crickets edging back from near extinction…

Ian Bennallick on Lizard wildflowers

From Pale Flax – which had not been recorded here since before 1950 – to Southern Marsh Orchid and rare gall midges, our National Meadows Day Safari revealed some less common sightings, as well as abundant wildflower species across the three sites we visited. Ian Bennallick, County Plant Recorder, reports in a special blog post for Wildlife Groundswell.

Business update: we’re now a CIC

Wildlife Groundswell is now a Community Interest Company (company no. 15021589). Our six directors are:
Sarah Board
Maggie Freegard
Sam Freegard
David Oates
Caroline Richardson
Tanya Strike
The directors will hold regular meetings – which are also open to anyone who’s interested in coming along. Want to get involved?


Butterflies of Cornwall – Atlas for the 21st Century by Cornwall Butterfly Association

Compiled by Sarah Board, Tristram Besterman, Bob Dawson, Dick Goodere, Maggie Goodere and Cerin Poland.

A Sight for Sore SSSIs – a report by Wild Justice on the state of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in England

Cornwall, including the Lizard peninsula, has many pieces of land designated as SSSIs. This should offer them protection by law, but this report shows that they have not been assessed for years, many of them for 10 years, so how do we know if they are being protected or not? If you want to see which SSSIs are near you look at this link.

Sarah Board will be telling us about a recent survey she carried out about the state of SSSIs and other designated sites on the Lizard when she talks to us at our conference on 23 September.

Nature Recovery Plan for Cornwall

Cornwall Council has just launched its Nature Recovery Plan for Cornwall. We have invited one of the team working on this, Dougie Handford, to come to tell us about it at our conference on 23 September. But if you prefer, you can read it in advance through the link below.There is also a survey within it that they would like us all to answer.

Any contributions to the Wildlife Groundswell newsletter, blogs, photos, articles and book recommendations most welcome – please email us by 30 August.