Conservation by the coast
The North Helford ranger team looks after a patch that stretches from Maenporth, a beautiful sandy beach just a mile west of Falmouth, to Durgan on the Helford River. This includes 5 miles of the South West Coast Path, of which the National Trust cares for 2 ¾ miles plus a further 4 ½ miles of paths which link in with the coast path.
The South West Coast Path is an amazing achievement - a long distance trail that sees millions of visitors every year and is open to anyone able to access it. The whole 630 miles was linked up in the late 1980s, but the coast path around Cornwall was the first section to be complete in 1973.
Whilst all those feet help to define the path there are always jobs for our rangers to do. The warm and moist climate in the South West means that plants grow very quickly here so keeping hedges trimmed is important. We try to leave cutting back as late in the year as we can to allow insects to benefit from the flowers and for the wildflowers to set seed.
Although this stretch of coast path is less than three miles long, there are three sets of steps, two foot bridges, five stiles and eight pedestrian and kissing gates which need to be maintained. Trying to bring granite gate posts and heavy machinery down steep hills to the coast path can be quite a challenge for the ranger team.
The other problem we face is landslips, particularly around Durgan and a diversion had to be put in place in 2015 when heavy rain in the winter caused part of the path to collapse.
We hope you enjoy your walk along the coast path and keep a look out for our friendly ranger team and volunteers who will be happy to share more information about the work they do in this beautiful area.