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Our work at Penrose

Children in high viz jackets planting trees in the ground at Penrose
A school group tree planting at Penrose | © Hilary Daniel

From wetlands and former tin mines to tree planting and coastal meadow creation, discover how the rangers and volunteers are looking after the variety of history and habitats found at Penrose.

Tree planting

Woodlands reconnect us with nature. This winter the rangers, along with volunteers from the local community, planted 4,000 trees at Penrose and next winter will be planting another 4,000 to create over 6 hectares of brand-new broadleaf woodland. This scheme will cost over £60,000 to deliver and has been fully funded by the England Woodland Creation Offer provided by the Forestry Commission. This new woodland plays a large part in the ambition to increase the woodland cover at Penrose by 10%. Details of the next tree planting season will be availble in autumn if you'd like to join us.

Improving access

We are always working to improve the accessibility of the places we care for. Over the past 10 years we have surfaced over 3.2km of the Higher Penrose bridleway routes which connect Penrose Hill and Porthleven, with the final stretch being completed in the summer of 2023. This resurfacing enables year-round access for the variety of users, from those walking, horse riders and visitors exploring on bike, to different areas of Penrose at all times of the year.

Coastal meadow creation

A three year project is underway to create 250 hectares of wildflower rich coastal meadow across Cornwall, using as much locally harvest seed from the Lizard. 97% of species-rich grassland has been lost in the UK in the last 70 years, with the remaining 3% fragmented across the country, leaving little room for wildlife to spread.

The rangers, along with their volunteer team, have been using equipment acquired through the Farming in Protected Landscapes project and the brush harvester (pictured below) gathered an impressive amount of seed last summer from Predannack which will be used locally at Penrose and the Lizard to enrich further meadows.

Seed collection in Cornwall using a brush harvester machine.
Seed collection in Cornwall using a brush harvester machine. | © National Trust Images

Loe Pool

Often simply called ‘The Loe’, Loe Pool is Cornwall’s largest natural lake and is protected from the wild Atlantic by Loe Bar, both of which provide unique wildlife habitats and are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Loe Pool is especially renowned for its bird population and is a favoured chosen site for over-wintering birds. There have also been increased sightings of otters living in the pool over the last 20 years.

Loe Pool Forum

Like a lot of freshwater lakes, it suffers from eutrophication. This is where increased nutrient levels in the water, often from outside sources, cause a change in ecology that can lead to algal blooms.

For 25 years we have been working in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency, South West Water, RNAS Culdrose and tenant farmers as the Loe Pool Forum.

Working together, the forum has delivered a range of practical changes in land management and wastewater treatment that have helped reduce nutrient inputs to the pool by nearly 80%, reducing algal blooms and helping the long-term recovery of the pool.

Find out more about the Loe Pool forum

Looking through the trees and across Loe Pool
Loe Pool at Penrose | © National Trust Images

Mining history on Porkellis Moor

The Rogers family, who kindly gifted Penrose to the National Trust in 1974, bought part of Porkellis Moor in the 1930s. They wanted to close the mines to stop pollution flowing into the River Cober – and into Loe Pool further downstream.

Thanks to support from Natural England, we’ve been able to survey many of these important historical sites, which form part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.

Tyack’s Engine House

The Tyack's site has an engine house, mineshaft, a smithy, magazine, flat rod trench and a balance bob pit.

Built in 1859, the engine house is a rare surviving example in the Wendron Mining District, at the heart of a once-thriving tin industry. It was used for deep shaft mining of the Tymorgie Lodes and represents an important phase in the development of mining techniques in the area.

Repairing and caring for the site

After surveying the Tyack’s site to understand its history and the repairs needed, building work began.

Teams cleared ivy off the engine house and repointed outbuildings with lime mortar. One of the biggest jobs was to cover the shaft with a metal grid, so that it was safe to remove the old barbed-wire fence.

Now our rangers are keeping the buildings free from ivy and the vegetation under control, so that their history can be seen for years to come.

Restoring the wetlands at Penrose

Working with local conservation groups and volunteers, we're restoring wildlife habitats on the Penrose estate.

Floodwater returns to the Willow Carr

The meandering River Cober was straightened in the 1960s, after concerns about flooding in Helston. This has caused the drying of the wet woodland (Willow Carr) and threatened the wildlife within this rare habitat.

To help, we’ve installed pipes to allow water to flow out of the river and into the drier areas of the Willow Carr. Rangers and volunteers have also built leaky dams made of carefully stacked logs and brash to slow water down, while raised and re-surfaced paths have improved access for walkers.

How can floodwaters help nature?

Holding the water in these floodplain areas longer into the summer creates wetter ground conditions and new habitats. Open-water pools attract spawning amphibians in spring and dragonflies in summer.

We’ve also created new open glades by felling and coppicing trees. Brash and logs piled up here provide new nesting habitats for birds and small mammals, and the open spaces will attract the large populations of bats at Penrose to forage for insects.

The Willow Carr is now a haven for wildlife and a beautiful place to walk.

Fallen branches forming part of a wetland
Wetland restoration | © National Trust Images / Paul Harris

Thank you

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

A visitor runs along a coastal trail with their dog at Penrose, Cornwall


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