Event Reports

Fabulous Wooded Garden Walk, Gillan Creek

Free for under 18s and HMCG members. £4 for others. Meet at Hallowarren Barn, Carne. SW 7729 2487  A very rare opportunity to stroll through a fabulous 15 acre woodland garden and wildflower honeypot meadow with owner Amanda Loxley.  There will be a circular walk through the unspoilt woodlands early summer flowers time finishing with […]

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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. We were a small group with only three families from Helston, Truro and Perranporth, and a keen naturalist from Penzance who very kindly recorded our day’s findings for the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. I was also joined by three enthusiastic members of the Helford Marine Conservation Group – Paul Garrard, Dave Thompson and Rhiannon Pipkin.

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Helford Conservation Cruise

1st July 2012

Helford Marine Conservation Cruise. Image: Pam Tompsett.
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What’s beneath your feet? (Dr Tegwyn Harris)

6th June 2012

Bar beach, Helford Passage

What’s beneath your feet? Image: Pam Tompsett
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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. Moss was used for caulking.’

Our speaker, Andy Wyke, was well qualified to tell us. As Boat Collection Manager at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, he has been one of the prime movers in a project which will use ancient tools to build a 60ft replica Bronze Age boat at the museum this summer (Apr – Sep), in an open workshop on view to the public.

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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. For our speaker, Dr Matthew Witt, the principal study area has been the beaches of Gabon, West Africa. Secluded and little frequented, (although with oilfields offshore), these are the nesting grounds for the world’s largest population of Leatherback turtles.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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British Divers Marine Life Rescue

19th March 2011 (following AGM)

Photo by Colin Speedy
Photo by Colin Speedy
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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.

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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.

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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. His outdoor gear depended on conditions, one photograph showing military-style camouflaged top and trousers, plus a back-pack to carry a tripod, camera and lenses and a chest-pack containing a portable hide. When erected, the last looked like a camouflaged igloo, just large enough to accommodate David and Adrian Langdon for several hours bird watching at the Walmsley Reserve. His account of that outing was returned by Adrian with the comment that the phrase “the mud came nearly to the top of our wellies” had a typographical error in the final word!

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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. Others are small – the Microplankton, which measure a millimetre or so across – or less – and are studied using a microscope. These are collected with a conical fine-mesh net swept or towed through the water and they include a great variety of plants and animals, in adult or larval stages. There is a third, even smaller, size category – the Nanoplankton, such as coccolithophores, which are just a few microns across and only seen with the aid of an electron microscope.

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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. Subsequently came five years work at Trelissick and then a return permanently to the Lizard, back to the woodlands and creeks that he preferred.

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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.

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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. One intrepid man waded out up to his waist to the far rocks, amidst the Kelp and Thongweed, and came back with a hand-sized Velvet Swimming Crab. He was holding it very carefully, with good reason, for another crab had already scarred his finger and this one was furious, waving its large pincers in the air, its scarlet eyes glaring.

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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. The National Trust owns two small properties on the south bank, one containing Bronze Age barrows and an Iron Age cliff castle. Looking seaward there was a clear view of Nare Point and its observation post, now occupied by Coastwatch, but, during WWII, part of a testing range for air-drop torpedoes.

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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. For this event we had the benefit of two experts, James Gossip from the Cornwall Archaeological Unit (Cornwall Council) and Mary Combe from the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, each assisted by a member of the Hosking family. The group of 43 was divided into two parties, one going with James and the other with Mary and then, after a swap, our experts kindly repeated their tours for the other party.

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