Newsletters

Eelgrass – An update

Readers of this newsletter will know that the HMCG, CWT and Natural England have a depth of knowledge about eelgrass belonging to the Zostera species. Stella Turk, Pam Tompsett, Roger Covey, Tony Sutton and Kevan Cook have all written about its natural history and distribution within the Helford and other areas of Cornwall. For good […]

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Helford Native Oysters

The collection of native oysters for food has long been recorded from coastal and inland archeological sites even as far back as the Iron Age. Near Eastern traders and Roman settlers were familiar with oysters from their Mediterranean use and Turkish pirates were reputed to target succulent Cornish oysters! By the 16th century oysters became […]

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Records of more rare, beautiful and interesting species of the HVMCA

During August 2006, I visited Gillan Creek in search of hemipteran bugs. The creek has extensive stands of sloe (blackthorn) and ivy overhanging the waters edge. The purity of the air and the high humidity in this, and other areas of the Lizard Peninsula, ensures that most of the sloe bushes are richly clad with […]

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The National Trust and The National Coastwatch Institution working together around the Lizard

A Partnership born on the Lizard The National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) is a voluntary organisation set up in 1994 to restore a visual watch along UK shores after many small Coastguard stations had to close down because of Government cuts. When two fishermen from Cadgwith lost their lives off the Cornish coast below the recently […]

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Bahamas vs The Manacles

Without hesitation most divers would choose to spend a few days in warm Caribbean seas than in cold British waters. No contest surely. Over-there, 30m visibility in azure blue seas teeming with life. Over-here? Well it’s so variable. But even on a good day with our grey-green waters and limited visibility no match for the […]

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Helford’s past seen through its place-names

Places in the past were usually named in a straightforwardly descriptive way, often from the names of people who lived there. Sometimes these descriptions contain valuable clues to the botany, or occasionally the fauna, of the place when it was named. Through tracing the names in historical records we can gain an idea of how […]

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Trigging and the Common cockle

In 2003 byelaws were passed in order to protect the common cockleCerastoderma edule from overexploitation in Cornish estuaries. It is important to maintain a healthy breeding population and it was decided that the recommendation of a minimum collection size of 20mm, about the size of a 20p piece, would assist in this aim together with a […]

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“Community, Commerce and Conservation working together” Helford River Sailing Club

Helford River Sailing Club was formed in 1948, when it was perceived by four local youngsters that there was a need for such a club on the river to provide good sailing and an active social calendar. It transpired that this perception was accurate as by September 1948 there was an active dinghy racing fleet […]

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Helford’s herons and enigmatic egret

Two of the Helford’s most noticeable birds are the two resident members of the Heron family the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) and the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta). Almost the size of a Golden Eagle, the Grey Heron is the most widespread large predatory bird in the UK, equally at home in the remote highlands and […]

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Time to watch out – string jelly’s about

As yet the nearest sighting of these ‘strings of jelly’ to the Helford River has been a record in Falmouth Bay, but it is a species that is likely to make itself felt (literally) more often in the future. Yes, it’s probably another ‘southern’ species extending its range northwards. It is arguably the largest known […]

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Large Helford Sea-hares – Aplysia depilans

On Tuesday 16th October 2007 Tony Sutton was diving on the eelgrass bed at 5.7m depth in the Helford VMCA when he came across some exceptionally large greenish brown sea-hares (35cm) which attracted his attention. When he returned a few days later with his camera he was able to take some excellent pictures which indicated […]

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Maritime and marine emergency planning

There is a constant programme of European funded initiatives underway, many of which relate to the health of our marine and maritime environments. The initiatives are invariably partnerships between counties, regions or countries. The Cycleau project was a good example of this work which was carried out in Cornwall. A project which is due to […]

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Cornish lobsters – new tagging study

Cornish shellfishermen are being asked to look out for tagged lobsters in their catches over the next couple of years, as part of a new study by Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee. Up to 2000 lobsters, mainly undersized, will be tagged in an attempt to gather more information on their movements and growth rates. This work, […]

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The Lizard Peninsula Heritage Trust

The Lizard Peninsula Heritage Trust, a registered charity formerly known as ‘Friends of the Lizard’ from its origins in 1997 until 2005, has published a new promotional leaflet with grant-aid from Kerrier District Council’s Community Grant budget. The leaflet sets out the Trust’s evolving wide interest in all matters that contribute to the natural, historic […]

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Rock Crevice Fauna

Having recently become very much more interested in the beetles, Coleoptera, of Cornwall, I have looked for some that actually live between high and low water marks, inhabiting rock crevices where, presumably, small pockets of trapped air enable them to survive when the tide is in. In summer 2006 several visits were made to the […]

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Green Tourism beside the Helford River

The Budock Vean Hotel, three times winner of Cornwall’s Hotel of the Year Award and Gold Award Winner for Green Tourism, celebrated the New Year with two new eco-tourism awards. The Budock Vean achieved Gold in the Sustainable Tourism Initiative of the Year category of the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2007. Judges were impressed by the […]

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Spider crabs – the wildebeest of our waters

Whilst many of us enjoy the odd crab sandwich (or maybe more), far fewer people have sampled the delights of spider crab, despite its delicious sweet flesh and great abundance around our coasts. Perhaps because of this perceived lack of commercial interest, there has been very little targeted research into spider crabs within the UK. […]

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The history of Cornish seaweed observers

One of the delights of dabbling in rock pools is to meet scuttling crabs, glistening anemones, darting fish and a whole range of amazing shells. All of these are set amongst a colourful array of seaweeds, red, green and brown, which provide shelter and food for so much of our marine fauna both on rocks […]

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Up all night (but not partying): UK’s first marine BioBlitz

Already cold and wet, zipping up my wetsuit for the third time that day at three am was not quite what I envisaged when my colleague Jason Birt suggested we hold a marine Bioblitz. However, the underwater sights that we encountered during the subsequent dive more than made up for such inconveniences. A popular way […]

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Duchy Oyster Farm Update

Over the last two years the Duchy Oyster Farm has farmed the non-native Pacific oyster on the beds of the Helford. Pacific oysters were introduced to the UK under licence in the 1970s and introduced to the Helford and Percuil rivers in 1974 in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Pacific oysters are […]

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