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Our work at Bosveal

Track down to Durgan village with Helford River beyond at Glendurgan Garden, Cornwall
Track down to Durgan village with Helford River beyond | © National Trust Images/Carole Drake

The North Helford ranger team looks after a patch of countryside that stretches from Maenporth to Durgan on the Helford River. This includes three miles of the South West Coast Path plus a further 4½ miles of paths which link with the coast path. Find out about how the rangers look after these stretches as well as the meadows of the North Helford countryside.

Sticking to the path

The South West Coast Path is a long-distance trail used by millions of visitors every year and is open to anyone able to access it. Its whole 630 miles was linked up in the late 1980s, but the coast path around Cornwall was the first section to be completed, in 1973.

Benefit for insects

Whilst all those feet help to define the path, there are always many jobs for the rangers to do. For a start, the warm and moist climate here means that plants grow very quickly so keeping hedges trimmed is important. Rangers try to leave cutting back as late in the year as possible to allow insects to benefit from the flowers and for the wildflowers to set seed.

Challenging terrain

Then there are three sets of steps, two footbridges, five stiles and eight pedestrian and kissing gates which need to be maintained. Trying to transport granite gateposts and heavy machinery down steep hills to the coast path can be quite a challenge for the ranger team.

Guests at Bosloe House, near Falmouth, Cornwall
Guests at Bosloe House | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Managing the meadows

If you’re walking the coast path between Durgan and Maenporth you’ll skirt the hay meadows at Bosloe. As well as taking in the views of the Helford River, it’s worth taking a closer look at the grasslands on this stretch of the river.

Twelve acres of hay meadows

The rangers care for over 12 acres of hay meadows which were once part of the Bosloe estate. These meadows are now filled with a wide variety of wildflowers in spring and early summer. Wildflowers need low-nutrient soils and there have been no inputs of fertiliser or slurry in these meadows for many years.

Low-intensity farming

The meadows are managed by a tenant farmer and this method of low-intensity farming is unusual these days. Most crops grown for silage are single species and are cut much earlier in the year and more frequently. Once the meadows are cut the hay is fed to the farmer’s cattle.

Wildflowers in June at Godolphin, Cornwall
Wildflowers in the meadow at Bosveal, Cornwall | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

A precious habitat

The meadow grass is cut just once a year in late July once the wildflowers have set seed and the habitat is no longer needed by ground-nesting and seed-eating birds. This style of management has greatly improved the habitat for wildlife and wildflowers.

Rare beetles

Rare oil beetles have been seen, as well as a flight of clouded yellow butterflies on migration from France and the meadows remain a hunting ground for swallows, kestrels, barn owls and bats.

Permissive paths

Our ranger team also maintain the meadows by mowing permissive paths which encourage people and their dogs to stick to the paths.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

Children finding a crab whilst rock-pooling on the beach at Poldhu Cove on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall


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