Our Mire Desire
New year and the start of an exciting new habitat restoration project in West Cornwall. After 20 years of scrub encroachment at Boswednack Mire the countryside team kick started 2019 by pulling on their wellies and waterproofs and headed into the boggy environment to begin to improve this special site for nature.
What makes this place so special?
The site of Boswednack near Gurnards head in West Cornwall includes grassland fields, mire habitat (boggy ground) and cliff land. This site is a recognised special place for many reasons; it exisits withing the West Penwith section of Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as well as being part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Much of this special place is looked after by one of our tenant farmers who have a herd of dairy cows grazing the fields. Outside of the tenancy lies cliff land which has been dominated by bracken in an unfavourable condition and an inland mire with dense purple moor grass tussocks and impenetrable scrub.
What is happening?
In the mire, scrub made up largely of willow, bramble and bracken, which has encroached over the important purple moor grass habitat will be cut back so that only islands of scrub remain. These islands of scrub will allow a range of wildlife to move through and around them. In January 2019 West Cornwall staff and volunteers kick started the year by weaving in and out of the tall tussocks of purple moor-grass and knee high boggy ground to begin the task of clearing and burning the encroached scrub using a mix of hand tools and machinery.
Six ponies from the Shires Holt Horse Sanctuary arrived at the Mire in late June ready for a summer of conservation grazing - trampling and nibbling the scrub further and reduce the height of the purple moor grass tussocks so that a number of wildflower species can thrive without being shaded out. These are wild ponies so please do not approach them or feed them - they have plenty of food in the mire. If you notice any problems with the ponies please contact Shires Holt Horse Sanctuary 07376399766
We will also create 2 ponds in the mire to introduce some standing water to encourage and support species of dragonflies, frogs and newts.
On the cliff at Boswednack the overgrown bracken will be treated to reduce its coverage. The ponies will be moved to the cliff to graze over the winter continuing their important work. In the future we hope to see this coastal grassland teeming with wildflower species, pockets of heather and scrub that will support populations of bees, butterflies, other insects and birds.