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Our work at Carnewas at Bedruthan

A sea view from the cliffs at Carnewas at Bedruthan
Views of the sea at Carnewas at Bedruthan | © National Trust Images/Sue Brackenbury

Dramatic cliff top views from a coastline teaming with nature. The appeal of the North Cornwall coast to visitors is unsurprising. What’s less known about is the work that goes on behind the scenes by our rangers. From looking after the footpaths to habitat management and working with volunteers; daily tasks are varied and often change with the seasons.

Ranger brushcutting a path at Boscastle, Cornwall
A ranger strimming a footpath | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Looking after footpaths

We look after many miles of path and keeping them accessible, whatever the weather, can be challenging. During winter, muddy paths can become tricky to walk along so, where possible, we lay stone down and often try to mitigate the problem by putting in drainage channels, allowing the water to run off. Cutting back hedges (out of bird nesting season) away from paths also helps to dry them out. In summer, fast-growing vegetation is what gets in the way. With the help of volunteers, we use brushcutters to cut this back. By installing and repairing steps, gates, bridges and waymarkers we aim to make peoples' access to the countryside the best it can be.

Over recent years we’ve significantly improved the network of accessible paths at Carnewas at Bedruthan, so the spectacular views can now be enjoyed by many more visitors.

Working with volunteers

We’re very fortunate to be supported by a team of volunteers from the local community. Volunteers support us with our hands-on practical work, repairing footpaths, fixing fences and planting trees. They also help with surveying wildlife such as butterflies, birds and wild flowers. Volunteers massively increase the amount of conservation work we can take on, bringing energy, ideas and hard graft. In return they get to spend time in nature, meeting other likeminded people whilst contributing to looking after the countryside in the National Trust’s care.

A ranger surveying butterflies at Boscastle
A ranger doing a plant survey | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Surveying wildlife

To ensure the work we do benefits wildlife, we carry out various surveys across North Cornwall, including at Carnewas at Bedruthan. Some rare species make their home here and so we want to make sure our work is helping to protect them. The ranger team, along with local experts and community groups, survey habitats such as grasslands, woodlands, meadows, heathland, rivers, and the seashore; monitoring the condition of different habitats as well as surveying the wildlife that live in them such as wild flowers and plants, butterflies, birds, bats and dormice.

Pink and white wildfowers in a green grassy meadow
Wildflower meadow | © National Trust Images/Sarah Davis

Managing habitats

Across our North Cornwall sites are a diverse range of rare farmland habitats including wildflower meadows, orchards, and farmland ponds. To help reverse the significant decline these habitats have faced since the 1930s, we are restoring remaining strongholds and creating new sites across land in our care, with the aim of supporting a spectrum of plant and animal species both large and small. Whether it is hand-sowing wildflower seed and summer hay-cuts in meadows, pruning fruit trees and planting traditional local varieties in orchards, or creating ponds as biodiversity oases in the landscape, we turn our hand to it all. Occasionally you may also see us removing invasive plant species that pose an additional pressure to these unique habitats within the agricultural landscape.

Partnership working

The ranger team work with a variety of stakeholders across the areas we care for. This includes our tenant farmers, other wildlife organisations like RSPB, Plantlife and Buglife and statutory bodies such as Natural England, Cornwall Council or The Environment Agency. These partnerships help us deliver more benefits for nature alongside farming, provides us with knowledge and advice and access to grants and funding to help support our work.

Thank you

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

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