The Gaia Trust and Shire’s Holt horse and pony sanctuary have come together to get ponies grazing at our Chark Moor reserve near Bodmin.
The ponies will graze not just grass, but the also any scrub re-growth. This is important as this winter we cleared a large amount of scrub to enlarge the open wet heath and grassland that is the favoured habitat for the rare marsh fritillary butterfly. Scrub will return if it is left un-grazed.
The ponies will stay on site for some months and the Gaia Trust and Shires Holt will be monitoring them so that any issues with under or over grazing are addressed and that their welfare is assured. Summer and Autumn grazing by cattle will follow on later in the year.
Booking open for the Cornwall AONB's Annual Conference on the theme of future farming on the 14th APRIL. Note that an afternoon field trip to our Treraven farm site in Wadebridge is available to delegates. See what we do there and explore how our management might chance in the future
Our scrub contractors have made impressive inroads on the scrub, with a few acres at the southern end completely cleared. It is already looking transformed. The stumps of small trees, saplings and gorse have been treated with glyphosate straight after cutting and stained blue to indicate treatment.
They are burning the arisings on dry ground, keeping the fire small and controlled and on a sheet of corrugated, galvanised steel to retain the ash. It’s a tough site and the workers have to drag the cut branches and gorse some distance across very tricky terrain to the bonfire. There they use loppers to reduce the branches further for the fire.
At the same time, our Knight Fencing are fencing the cleared corral area to improve access before moving on to repair the perimeter fences. This is important so ensure that the site is stock proof as summer grazing is crucial to keeping the scrub down and improving the habitat for the rare marsh fritillary butterfly.
Sad news and a great loss for the Gaia Trust at Home Farm Marsh with the passing of birder, carpenter, fencer, hide; stile; bird box and bench builder, joker and all round good bloke - Geoff Taylor.
Geoff was at the Reserve two or three times a week in all weathers and even cycled around Northern France to raise money to extend the main pond.
He will be sadly missed by all at Home Farm Marsh.
The Gaia Trustees and Director send their condolences to his wife Christine and thanks for sharing Geoff with us for all those years
Are you an experienced nature conservation and countryside worker with the people skills to organise and run volunteering tasks and engage the public?
The Gaia Trust Charity is recruiting for a part time Site Ranger at its Treraven Farm Nature Reserve near Wadebridge. The post can be employed or arranged as a self-employed contract beginning in January 2018.
Apply by sending your CV and a short covering letter (maximum 1000 words) to email@example.com. The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 15th December. Interviews will be held in Cornwall on Wednesday 10th January 2018.
The Gaia Trust's Chark Moor site has been included in the new Mid Cornwall Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest confirmed by Natural England, the government's nature conservation body, on November 15th.
Wesley Smyth, manager of Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly team in Natural England, said:
This rich and diverse landscape of Mid Cornwall is home to an array of rare plants and insects, alongside one of the highest densities of willow tit breeding pairs in England. That’s why we’ve designated this area as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, recognising its vital contribution to our natural heritage and helping its precious wildlife thrive for generations to come.
Matt Edworthy, Director of the Gaia Trust says "we are privileged to have our Chark Moor site included in the new SSSI. We are managing it to encourage the rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly which is currently found nearby, but not at Chark. We look forward to seeing this wonderful species return"
In May 2017 a bat detector at Home Farm Marsh recorded the ultra-sonic calls of up to nine species of bat that frequent the site. More
Hoping to catch a glimpse of ospreys using the new nest pole, the Gaia Trust has installed a solar-powered webcam at Home Farm Marsh and large viewing screen at Fremington Quay Cafe. More.