Your Shore – Cornwall’s Marine Heritage Project

Have you ever looked out to sea and wondered what lies beneath the silvery waves that play on its surface? Perhaps you have been rockpooling with a younger family member and found it frustrating not to know what type of seaweed you are clambering over or what species of crab is glaring at you from under its rock!

In previous years, residents of Looe have been able to join Cornwall Wildlife Trust to learn more about their local marine environment through the ‘Discovering the Wonders of Looe’s Marine Heritage Project’ which successfully involved thousands of South East Cornwall residents in marine related events, school workshops and volunteering opportunities. And the good news is that the work will continue!

Volunteers will be recruited all around Cornwall to help protect five of Cornwall’s most important marine wildlife conservation areas through the ‘Your Shore’ project, thanks to a grant of £103,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The three-year activity programme, run by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, will be centred on the Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas (VMCAs) of St Agnes and Polzeath on the north coast, and Looe, Fowey and, of course, Helford on the south.

The focus of this project is on Cornwall’s diverse natural marine heritage which is recognised as being of both regional and international importance. It contributes to the county’s appeal as a tourist destination – attracting more than 4 million visitors each year – but also requires protection for the same reason.

Local residents, families, businesses and volunteers, of all ages, will be recruited in Helford to take part in a range of activities that will raise awareness of the fragility of various ecosystems. Events such as rockpool rambles, snorkel surveys, guided walks and river cruises will be held combining fun with learning opportunities. Commenting for the Heritage Lottery Fund, Head of HLF South West England Nerys Watts said: “ Cornwall’s superlative marine heritage will benefit through people’s increased understanding of the local environment with increased numbers of children and adults encouraged to ‘look, learn and leave’ so as to conserve this treasury of wildlife for future generations.”

Extract from HVMCA newsletter No.40 Spring 2010

© Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area