Threatened west Penwith land comes under protection
CHERISHED west Penwith land said to be threatened by changes to agricultural policy is to be made safe thanks to £200,000 of lottery funding.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust has plans in place to buy more than 80 acres of west Cornwall's rural landscape, helping to conserve it for years to come with a new restoration project that forms part of a wider strategy to "restore and reconnect wildlife habitats in Penwith".
The Heritage Lottery Fund grant of nearly £200,000 comes alongside one of the most successful appeals to trust members and supporters ever, with donations totalling around £28,000.
The organisation is looking to complete the purchases this autumn, which will see a new area of wetland between St Just and Newbridge and around 25 acres added to an already established nature reserve near Sancreed.
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The first, named Bostraze Bog, will span around 60 acres and is marked to play host to a variety of wildlife such as dragonflies, willow warblers and a rare species of butterfly.
Callum Deveney, head of nature reserves at Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said the new land would be "fantastic and different additions" to west Penwith, as most land in the area is dry heath and grasslands.
Commenting on the bog in particular, he said: "It is a sort of wetland, which makes it quite unique."
Mr Deveney said the money was a welcome boost for the environment.
"The award of this grant is brilliant news as these sites and their wildlife are so important. We believe that we are helping to serve and protect wildlife," he added.
As well as Bostraze the trust is ready to finalise the expansion of the Caer Brân patch, adding sloping Bartinney Downs land to bring the reserve up to around 85 acres – allowing more room for treasured wildlife such as barn owls, otters and skylarks.
The trust believes the two areas are "some of the most important in the country".
Mr Deveney added the trust hopes the community become more involved in wildlife preservation and sustainability projects following the acquisitions.
He also noted a new part-time officer will be employed to help establish the reserves and encourage locals to play a part.
"The officer will arrange activities for people to get to know the sites," he said.
"People can learn about nature and going forward we hope that locals will be able to help manage them."
As well as adding to the conservation of habitats and species, heritage features such as the prehistoric hut circle, a possible Bronze Age barrow, a scheduled ancient monument and a medieval track will also be protected.
Nerys Watts, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said the two sites were "jewels in the South West's crown" and were "deserving of investment".
She added: "It's great to know that local people will have the chance to get involved with all stages of the restoration project and will be able to share their learning with a wider audience, raising awareness of the critical importance of these habitats we are so lucky to have."