Come and be our Wheal Buzzy Project Officer!

Wheal Buzzy Project Officer (vacancy now closed for applications)

The Cornwall AONB has been successful in securing £56,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its exciting and pioneering new project, Wheal Buzzy, to safeguard and enhance conditions for mining bees, which will take place in West Penwith, parts of the Lizard, St Agnes and North Cornwall. We are now looking for a committed and resourceful Project Officer to join us to deliver this exciting project.

 The Tormentil Mining Bee

The Tormentil Mining Bee

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on protecting and enhancing declining solitary mining bee habitats in these areas of outstanding landscapes.

Matching £10,000 from the AONB Partnership and other donations from our partners and volunteers in the form of time and materials, the grant will enable the project to run for two years to work in partnership with a wide network of Parish and Town Councils, community groups and trusts, schools, universities, churches and individuals to enable local people to learn about mining bees and to work with us to help protect and support the remaining habitats for the benefit of future generations.

The project officer will help us to: -

-  Create 22 hectares of habitat for mining bees working with our partners on 16 different sites across these areas with significant opportunities for local people to volunteer with us to share enjoyment in planting these important sites to improve foraging opportunities for our vulnerable mining bees;

 The coast at St Agnes is just one of the locations that we plan to undertake community-based habitat improvements

The coast at St Agnes is just one of the locations that we plan to undertake community-based habitat improvements

- Provide opportunities for local people and our visitors to enjoy and experience guided walks and to learn through taught courses how to identify and record mining bees across Cornwall;

- Advise landowners to look after their property in ways which will cater for the needs of mining bees and,

- Support our local schools and higher educational institutions to learn about mining bee habitats through coursework and educational resources as well as improve their school grounds or community spaces working alongside other partners.

  The project officer will deliver 22 hectares of wildflower meadows across the Cornwall AONB similar to this example at Cape Cornwall

The project officer will deliver 22 hectares of wildflower meadows across the Cornwall AONB similar to this example at Cape Cornwall

There are over 190 species of bee in the Cornwall AONB and over 120 of these are solitary mining bees making our area of national significance having larger populations than anywhere else in the UK. There are over 20 endangered and nationally scarce species present, however the number of sites have declined by over 50% in the last 25 years. This project represents a unique opportunity for a suitably qualified and experienced individual to help us reverse this decline for the benefit of future generations and to safeguard this important component of the natural heritage of the Cornwall AONB.

Gill Pipkin, Chairperson of the Cornwall AONB Partnership, said: -

 “I am both thrilled and excited that we have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. Many of our nationally important species of mining bee face extinction in the Cornwall AONB at current rates of decline and this hugely welcome grant will enable us to place local people at the heart of an exciting and rewarding, community based effort to reverse this and safeguard this important aspect of Cornwall’s heritage for our local communities and visitors. We now need a skilled and committed individual to join our team in order to help us achieve this”.

We are looking for a committed, passionate and enthusiastic individual with a proven ability of working collaboratively to deliver environmental work in partnership with local communities, with experience of working with organisations in the public, private and volunteer sector and with individuals ranging from schoolchildren to the elderly to raise awareness and engagement in the project from the local community. You will need to have excellent communication skills in the broadest range of contexts; possess a high degree of empathy and diplomacy to deliver the work with local communities as well as a good working knowledge of project management techniques and practice gained in a similar community-based environmental or heritage context. You should also have a degree or equivalent in an environmental discipline.

The post is 0.8 of a full-time equivalent for 29.6 hours a week on a temporary contract. The successful applicant will be based at the AONB Unit offices at Pydar House in Truro, although you will be expected to work flexibly across our area alongside our partners and stakeholders from West Penwith to North Cornwall.

NB: this vacancy is no longer being advertised - closing date for applications has passed.

 

 

 

Success for the South West Moors!

Our ambitious three-year project to restore peatland on the South West’s iconic moors, Bodmin Moor, Exmoor and Dartmoor has been awarded £2million!

A partnership of organisations including The Cornwall AONB Unit, West Country Rivers Trust, Natural England, South West Water,  South West Lakes Trust and the Environment Agency have led on the project and have joined forces with the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park Authorities and many others for the benefit of all the South West Moors. The Partnership has successfully apply for funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to restore 1,680 hectares of damaged peatland on Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor and Exmoor.

36- Julie Taylor - Bodmin Moor.jpg

Morag Angus from SWW explained:

“The peatlands of south-west England are very important for water quality, carbon storage, biodiversity, cultural history, recreation and farming but they are the most vulnerable in the UK to the impacts of climate change, due to their southerly position. For this reason they need to be prioritised nationally and restored for the benefit of all and future generations.The £2million from Defra presents a real opportunity to make a significant difference and to deliver sustainable management in these upland river catchments.

Colette Beckham, Cornwall AONB Partnership Manager added,

"We are really delighted to be able to make significant strides to restoring valley mire peatlands on Bodmin Moor  through this project and I think the moor has really benefitted here from the joint approach with Dartmoor and Exmoor. It has to be said that this would not be possible without our committed group of supportive landowners - so special thanks must go to them."

The moors of Bodmin, Dartmoor and Exmoor hold significant regional and national deposits of peat in the form of blanket bogs and valley mires. These wetland habitats are complex ecosystems that support diverse and unique ecology of national and international importance.

Over centuries, human interventions have and still are impacting upon the overall quality and distribution of wetland mire habitats and upland moors. The demise of such wetlands across extensive swathes of the moors has resulted in changes in the moorland ecology, including the loss of iconic species such as dunlin, golden plover, and Sphagnum mosses.

The challenge is to prevent further losses and halt the decline, while improving and restoring these degraded habitats.

The project will be delivered by a partnership including government agencies, non-governmental organisations, landowners and farmers. Restoration work will start in August 2018.

Marsh.jpg

Various ditch blocking techniques using sustainable materials (wood, peat, grass and heather) will be adopted on historic peat cuttings, drainage networks and eroding gullies in order to enable re-wetting of extensive areas of damaged peatlands.

Undertaking this peatland restoration will bring about multiple benefits. These include:

  • Increasing the peatlands’ resilience to climate change and increasing carbon storage.
  • Improving the hydrological function of the peatlands by improving the quality and quantity of water leaving the moors.
  • Restoring the ecosystems that support the recovery of the habitats and associated wildlife.
  • Protecting and increasing our knowledge of our historic environment.
  • Maintaining and improving access.
  • Economic benefits to local farmers and businesses.
  • Health and well-being benefits to society both locally and nationally.
  • A greater understanding and experience to the numerous people who work in and visit these iconic landscapes.

 

Notes to editors

 

The Three Moors project partners are:

  • Bodmin Moor: Our landowners, South West Water, South West Lakes Trust, Natural England, Environment Agency, RSPB, Cornwall AONB, West Country Rivers Trust, Country Land and Business Association and Cornwall Council 
  • Dartmoor: South West Water, Natural England, Environment Agency, RSPB, Dartmoor National Park Authority, West Country Rivers Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, Dartmoor Preservation Trust, Dartmoor Society, Duchy of Cornwall, Ministry of Defence, farming representatives, Historic England, University of Exeter, University of Plymouth
  • Exmoor:  South West Water, Natural England, Environment Agency, Historic England, University of Exeter, Exmoor National Park Authority, Exmoor Society, farming representatives.

Proceedings of the 2018 Cornwall AONB Conference

The Cornwall AONB Partnership hosted its 2018 Conference, 'The Future of the Farmed Environment' on Saturday 14th April at the Royal Cornwall Showground Pavilion in Wadebridge. it was a very successful and busy day with over 190 attendees!

This year, in recognition of the UK’s intention to leave the European Union in 2019, the focus of the event was on discussing the future of agriculture after we 'Brexit', with a packed programme of speakers in the morning, followed by a series of case study visits to farms across North Cornwall in the afternoon.

Delegates were welcomed to the event by the Chairperson of the Cornwall AONB Partnership, Gill Pipkin, and the opening address came from Councillor Sue James, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection at Cornwall Council.

Gill Pipikin reflects- 

“Our Annual Conference is one of our major opportunities to engage with a wide audience of our wider partners beyond the formal Partnership Board. I was thrilled that my first Conference as Chairperson saw us attract such a large amount of people and was proud to have hosted such an important contribution to how the future of farming in Cornwall will be shaped after Brexit”.

The keynote morning speakers began with George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food who talked about the government’s 25 year Environment Plan and the future of farm payments that will move to a system of payments for farms contributing to public goods such as biodiversity, beauty, carbon storage and water management. 

George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food - "The 25 Year Environment Plan and the Future of Farm Payments"

The Minister was followed by Victoria Vyvyan, Chair of the Environment Committee of the Country Land and Business Association, who talked about making Brexit work for farmers. Victoria described Brexit as a potentially bumpy ride which would need a typically british 4x4, a Landrover Defender, to navigate!

Lucy Jones of the Cornish Food Box Company then described their experience of building a successful business in a protected landscape, illustrating how environmental protection and business success can be achieved in harmony.

Lucy Jones - Director The Cornish Food Box Company

The Minister was kind enough to stay for half an hour at the end of the morning to answer questions on the governments proposals set out by Defra in the current consultation, Health and Harmony – The Future for Food, farming and the Environment in a Green Brexit

 The morning panel taking questions from delegates   

The morning panel taking questions from delegates

 

 The winning image of the calm before the storm at Botallack by Sophie Green

The winning image of the calm before the storm at Botallack by Sophie Green

The event also showcased this year’s AONB Photography competition winners and their stunning photographs as they receive their prizes from Jane Davies, Cornwall AONB Development Officer. 
 

 The delegates assembled for the photo call after lunch

The delegates assembled for the photo call after lunch

 The Beaver watching the conference proceedings

The Beaver watching the conference proceedings

Activity continued over lunch with Jim Wood, Cornwall AONB Planning Officer holding a Planning Surgery and Dr Grace Twiston-Davies our AONB Research Associate with the University of Exeter hosting a seminar on achieving pollinator friendly farming choiceswith Patrick Aubrey Fletcher from the National Farmer’s Union . There were also plenty of exhibits including the Cornwall Wildlife Trust display that featured a beaver all the way from Bavaria to illustrate their project to re-introduce beavers in to Cornwall. Note no beavers were harmed during this conference, this one having sadly died of old age.

 Becky Hughes from FWAG leading the farm visit to illustrate voluntary approaches to conservation outside farm payment schemes at Withiel

Becky Hughes from FWAG leading the farm visit to illustrate voluntary approaches to conservation outside farm payment schemes at Withiel

Then on a glorious afternoon after such a long, drawn out winter our delegates (wellies at the ready) went off on their choice of eight different farm visits kindly hosted by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, The Gaia Trust, The RSPB, Natural England and FWAG and with lots of local farmers, all doing something great for environmental land management including Chris Jones from Woodland valley farm, Robert Sloman from Roscarrock farm, Charlie and Jane Watson-Smythe at Tregirls Farm.

Thankfully everyone came back in good time despite the beautiful weather for the plenary talk from Tom Tolputt of South West Farm Consultants, illustrating how sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand.

Tom Tolputt, South West Farm Consultants - "Sustainability and profitability go hand in hand"

Feedback from all the delegates was excellent and attendees really appreciated the time taken by the Minister and all who participated in the conference to begin the vital disucssions on how we shape the future of farming once we leave the EU.