Up with the Downs
Cornwall Wildlife Trust with the Penwith Landscape Partnership
Surveys of rough ground and improvements to rough ground management
The aim of An Gonyow Bys Vykken or Up with the Downs is to support the farming community in the management of semi-natural habitat on the downs and moors of Penwith, whilst conserving the heritage, biodiversity and cultural elements of the landscape through improving current, and providing a long term solution to, on-going management of the land.
Specifically the project will identify areas of roughland not currently covered by agri-environment schemes and bring approx. 30ha p.a. under better management with long-term management plans. It will develop skills in practical management techniques within the farming community and a local volunteer work-force. It will also support and work with commoners on the co-operative management of habitat across some areas of common land. It is expected that the project will help to increase the workable land available to farmers where possible and therefore its economic value to farm businesses.
The focus of the project is on areas of abandoned common land which Natural England does not currently have under Higher Level Stewardship or Higher Tier agreements. Areas of common land have proved more difficult to bring under such agreements due to the complexities involved. In addition, the project will target small areas of moors and downs that fall below the threshold for Natural England Countryside Stewardship, i.e. below 15 ha., especially those which have been identified as important stepping stones for wildlife corridors across the landscape.
This project will primarily provide funding to support individual work by farmers and landowners, with grants managed through our small grants programme and agreed by a grants panel. Some of the potential activities which could be funded include: biological surveys of identified sites; assessments and surveys of archaeological sites to identify management requirements; consultation with stakeholders including guided site visits to discuss the techniques, timetable and management of contractors and volunteers; preparatory works using trained volunteers, for example the cutting and management of fire breaks to help prevent damage caused by wildfires; with the support of the commoners and teams of volunteers, taking practical steps towards promoting and undertaking co-operative management of habitat; and controlling invasive species in moorland areas.
Our first priority under the project is the clearance of invasive rhododendron on Mulfra Hill - if you are a farmer in that area with problems with rhododendron do please get in touch.
This project is being led by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, and is being managed within the PLP team by Nick Taylor, our Ecologist, and Phil Pengelly, our Farm Environment Officer. If you have any questions regarding the project please contact James by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or Phil on email@example.com
If you are a farmer in Penwith, you can find more information on our Farming and Wildlife pages.