Event Reports

Rockpool Ramble at Prisk Cove

21st August 2012

The weather didn’t bode well for our Rockpool Ramble event at Prisk on Tuesday 21st August, with heavy showers hitting hard as we drove to our meeting point. However, by the time we all assembled at Mawnan Church car park the sun was shining and the afternoon turned out to be warm and beautiful.… Read more

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Helford Conservation Cruise

1st July 2012

The 19th Annual Conservation cruise set off on a dry day with a few grey clouds and
a brisk westerly wind. The “Enterprise” boat skipper with his intimate knowledge of
the channels and mud banks took us high up into the creeks, the haunt of shelduck,
sandpiper, redshank, heron and little egret.… Read more

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What’s beneath your feet? (Dr Tegwyn Harris)

6th June 2012

Bar beach, Helford Passage

On a slightly blustery afternoon an intrepid group of Helford VMCA members headed out on to Bar Beach to explore the squidgy, muddy but intriguing world living beneath our feet. The event was planned to find, identify and learn a little more about some of the unusual critters to be found hidden in the muddy shores of the Helford River.… Read more

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Coastal Ketches and Inside Barges (Andy Wyke)

14 January 2012

‘A sewn boat? What’s that?’ ‘Well, it was a way of constructing boats in the Bronze Age, about 2500 BC, before nails had been invented. With the tools available at the time, bronze axes and adzes, logs would be split and fashioned into planks, to be stitched edge-to-edge with fibres from yew branches.… Read more

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Leatherback turtles and their jellyfish prey (Dr Matt Witt)

31st March 2012

Of the 7 species of marine turtles, 3 are seen regularly in UK waters: the Leatherback, Loggerhead and Kemp’s Ridley turtles. However, Britain also has interests in overseas waters, such as the Caribbean, and so the work of the Marine Turtle Research Group of Exeter University, based at Tremough, encompasses the world’s oceans.… Read more

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Rockpool Ramble

30 August 2007

Out at sea, yachts were heeIing in a brisk wind. Onshore, all eyes were directed downwards as Ruth Williams explained the mysteries and delights of the Rosemullion rockpools to 9 persons (and a dog). It must he admitted, since it was our dog, that the latter was more interested in splashing than learning: and his curiosity to discover why we were staring quietly and intently into the water was of no help in persuading timid creatures to emerge from their hiding places.… Read more

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Helford River – Where The Land Meets The Sea

17 February 2007

A detailed look at this watery world and how we influence it gave a large audience (67) much food for thought as the issues of pollution, clean seas, farming and recreation were highlighted. This followed recent studies by scientists from the Environment Agency, University of Exeter, and the Farming and Wildlife Group as described by Dr Peter Jonas, Dr Julian Greaves and Annabel Keast.… Read more

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HMCG Seashore Safari at Helford Passage

4th April 2008

Taking advantage of the extremely low tide and with dry, mild and slightly breci conditions, 40 persons, about half of them young children, assembled at Helford Passage to take part in the Seashore Safari run by Joana Doyle with two helpers from the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.… Read more

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Seashore Safari, Helford Passage with Ruth Williams

Monday, 18th April 2011

If shellfish, crabs and other marine creatures have an early warning system, it must have clicked on ‘Red Alert’ today as the Seashore Safari got underway.  But to no avail.  A horde of searchers, 30 adults and 45 children, with ages ranging from 2 to 80, was advancing over the rocks, armed with nets and buckets.  There was little chance of any creature remaining undetected as sharp eyes and quick hands and nets probed the rock pools and watery gullies; and soon treasured finds were being placed in the buckets and carried to Ruth for identification.… Read more

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British Divers Marine Life Rescue

19th March 2011 (following AGM)

It is always a lot to ask of a speaker to provide a presentation straight after an AGM, so the 45 people who attended on 19th March at Gweek Village Hall are particularly grateful to Dave Jarvis for agreeing to.… Read more

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Non-native Marine Invasive Species (Guy Baker)

Saturday, 26th February 2011

“You should clean your bottom every year”! Australians and New Zealanders are known for plain speaking, but this seemed unnecessarily rude. However, just to clarify, they were talking in this instance about the hull of your boat.  The point was quickly driven home by an underwater film, taken in N.France, which showed a hull so thickly coated with weeds and invertebrates that it looked like a sagging roll of shaggy carpet.  Boat fouling is a worldwide problem and marinas and harbours are important staging posts in the process, because hulls, piers and jetties provide numerous firm surfaces on which sessile plants and animals can gain a foothold.  It only takes a few weeks for a surface to be completely colonised.  Increasingly, however, it has been found that the plants and animals are not simply extensions of the local ecosystem, they include alien species which have invaded from different parts of the world.  Recognising that this was a problem, the Marine Biological Association (MBA) in Plymouth entered a consortium with the Scottish Association for Marine Science, the Natural History Museum and other research institutions to research the issue of Marine Aliens.… Read more

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The Fal-Helford Marine Special Area of Conservation (Kevan Cook)

Saturday, 15th January 2011

Because of its very special nature in terms of habitats, biodiversity, species, geology and scenery, the Helford River has long been recognised as worthy of protection at both European and national levels.  Fortunately our speaker, Kevan Cook, Lead Marine Adviser for Natural England, was able to guide us through some of the acronyms.  The Fal-Helford SAC (Special Area of Conservation), lying west of a line from St Anthony Head to Manacle Point and giving the highest level of protection, is a European designation relating to habitats and some species.  It identifies the range of environments in the Helford, from the rocky shores at Rosemullion and Gillan, buffeted by strong winds and tides, passing upstream to sand banks with seagrass and maerl and then to the highly productive intertidal muds with narrow saltmarsh fringe of Polwheveral, Frenchman’s Creek and Gweek.  Another European designation, though not present in the Helford, is an SPA (Special Protection Area) which safeguards the habitats of particular bird species.  At a national (UK) level, the intertidal zone of the Lower Fal and Helford is classified as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and this overlaps with the individual SSSIs of Merthen Woods and Rosemullion Head, the latter for geological interest.  Further UK designations are evolving and in course of discussion, namely MCZ (Marine Conservation Zone), MPA (Marine Protection Area) and MNR (Marine Nature Reserve).  In addition, the Helford lies in Cornwall AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), in which the emphasis is on scenic character.  Through all of these, the Helford is afforded a  high degree of protection.  Damaging or destroying features for which a site is designated can incur considerable penalties and Natural England’s consent must be sought for a wide range of operations which might have impact, for example agricultural practice, drainage, shore work and dredging.… Read more

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Tales of a Wildlife Photographer (David Chapman)

Saturday, 11th December 2010

Is that a pin-tailed duck? No, it’s a long-tailed duck. Isn’t that a gannet? No, it’s a black-tailed godwit. We were trying to identify birds on David Chapman’s jumper, knitted by his mother who had produced separate jerseys for different talks.… Read more

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Plankton on Parade

Saturday, 13th November 2010

The term ‘plankton’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘wanderer’ or ‘made to wander’,an apt description for creatures which drift at the mercy of winds and currents. Some are large and easily seen – the Macroplankton, such as jellyfish and the Portuguese man-o’-war.… Read more

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The National Trust around the Helford

Saturday, 16th October 2010

Justin Whitehouse, National Trust Area Warden for the Lizard, first became associated with the National Trust as a volunteer shortly after graduating as a botanist and moving to Cornwall in 1994. His daily journey to work involved rowing across the river from Porth Navas to the office at Helford.… Read more

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Goongillings Exploration and Picnic

Sunday, 5th September 2010

“I waved goodbye to the couple I had just killed”. What an excellent quote to relate to Amanita phalloides, the Death Cap fungus. Pauline Penna had just dug one from the field adjacent to Scott’s Wood and she passed it round the group, pointing out that the gills were white, not grey-black as in a mushroom.… Read more

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Rockpool Ramble, Prisk Cove

Saturday, 14th August 2010

Twenty adults and eight children was the tally for the Rockpool Ramble —- but age was irrelevant. Soon everyone, from youngster to pensioner, was in the same position, with bottoms up, eyes down and hands and nets probing the multitude of rock pools left by the ebbing tide.… Read more

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Helford Conservation Cruise

Sunday, 11th July 2010

Once again, the weather was kind, producing a warm, dry and wind-free day. With 95 passengers on board, plus tanks containing a variety of live fish, crabs and other creatures, the Enterprise boat headed to the mouth of the estuary and around into Gillan Creek, in sight of St Anthony church.… Read more

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Farming through the Ages

Sunday, 20th June 2010

Gear Farm, the home of the Hosking family since 1933, is the site of a large hillfort, dating back to perhaps 3000 BC, which was the subject of excavations and a TV programme by the BBC’s Time Team in 2001.… Read more

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Wild Foods Walk with Caroline Davey and Ruth Williams

Sunday, 16th May 2010

Despite the unpromising weather – overcast and drizzly, 35 enthusiastic members and friends, including 5 children, gathered in Helford Car Park to meet Caroline Davey, the ‘Fat Hen’ food forager from St Buryan, and Ruth Williams from CWT, to learn about what natural foods can be gleaned from the vicinity of the Helford.… Read more

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© Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area