Godrevy sea of purple

Phacelia in flower at Godrevy Farm

For a few weeks this spring you'll be seeing purple as you gaze over St Ives Bay to Godrevy.

Changes in land management at Godrevy Farm have resulted in some eye-catching views over on the headland. The stars of the show are a crop of super-pollinating Phacelia. This sea of purple has been introduced into the arable and green cropping fields and is a win for nature and farmers alike by attracting wildlife as well as breaking down and acting as fertile manure for follow-on crops.

Visible from all round Carbis Bay the farm is a perfect example of how nature and farming can work hand-in-hand to help halt species decline, improve levels of biodiversity and tackle climate change. It is also a great example of how farming can be sustainable, productive and profitable.

Three years ago the ranger team started to work with the farm tenants to make changes which aligned more with the National Trust’s ambitious plans to help restore nature and reverse the decline in wildlife on the land in its care, as well as working in sympathy with the coastal setting and the surrounding Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSIs).  

Changes you will see at Godrevy include planting wild seed margins which are bringing more wildlife back to the heart of the farm. This provides wildlife-rich corridors that link up with the existing coastal habitats nearby. On site the team are restoring flower rich meadows, planting trees and making changes to the management of the Cornish hedges that weave through the farm.

Planting the Phacelia improves soil condition by helping to increase stores of soil carbon and creating better soil structure, and is a rich food source particularly for invertebrates such as butterflies and bees. 

Steve Sudworth, lead ranger says: 'It's vital that we halt the alarming decline in nature.  Although our work at Godrevy might seem small when considering the huge scale of the issues we face nationally and globally on balancing food production and the nature and climate crisis, it’s changes like these that can start to provide solutions that deliver for nature, climate and people.
Godrevy headland is a botanically diverse area which has always been a great place for wildlife with many species of birds, reptiles and invertebrates.  Since making changes to our land management on the farm we’ve seen a rapid improvement in biodiversity with increased sightings of chough and silver-studded blue butterflies and we expect to see a marked increase in bee species and breeding birds in the coming years. 
It’s been great to work with our tenants to make these positive changes happen in what has been a very challenging year for us all.

Our ambition is bold; to make Godrevy a real haven for wildlife and a place for people to reconnect with nature'.

Steve adds: 'The purple haze of Phacelia across the farm fields in June is a great way for our visitors to see how our land management is changing.  It gives a dramatic splash of colour to the area, which on closer inspection, is buzzing with insects and swooping swallows.

Godrevy is and always has been an important place for people to visit and connect with the landscape and the natural world and we are very excited to bring more nature into people’s lives when they visit here.'

To help us care for Godrevy and to enjoy this stunning landscape and the wildlife that lives here please follow the countryside code on your visit;

  • stick to designated footpaths
  • give wildlife space
  • keep your dog on a lead
  • leave the environment as you found it and take your litter home with you.
Silver studded blue butterflies
Silver studded blue butterflies
Silver studded blue butterflies

In the present climate emergency food production and the farming industry is critically important for helping in this fight to protect and regenerate nature. Farmers have a vital role in producing safe and sustainable food supplies as well as playing a crucial part in improving biodiversity, protecting vulnerable natural resources and helping to address issues caused by climate change.

Godrevy farm is a good example to highlight the need to farm the right crops and livestock in the right places, to bring nature back into areas where the quality of the land is marginal and where nature needs a helping hand to move across the landscape to deal with the effects of our changing climate. 

The headland is still a special place for visitors to come back to again and again, perhaps pausing for a second to notice what’s changed in the landscape. Share your nature experiences with us on social media #GodrevyWild.

Pyramidal orchid at Godrevy

Wild about Godrevy

A look behind the scenes at Godrevy, finding out how we can all support nature on this wild and beautiful headland.