The Cornwall AONB Community Hedge Project- Celebrating 60 years of the Cornwall AONB
In 2019 the Cornwall AONB celebrates its Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of the designation of Cornwall’s protected landscape in 1959. The Kerdroya project, working in partnership with Golden Tree Productions, will be our largest celebration of this important milestone.
Kerdroya is both a physical celebration of this important milestone with our partners and with the communities of our 12 AONB sections as well as an opportunity to celebrate one of the most special aspects of what makes Cornwall’s AONB landscape so special – the humble Cornish hedge.
Of all the human-created features of our landscape, First Prize for impact, beauty and function (as well as geological, ecological and cultural significance) goes to the humble Cornish hedge. Claimed to be amongst the oldest human-built structures in the world still in use for their original purpose, some are perhaps more than 4000 years old. With locally distinctive building styles celebrating the micro-geology of place, our hedges create the characteristic field-patterns of the Cornish landscape. There are about 30,000 miles of hedge across Cornwall today: vital nature reserves, linking corridors that connect all 12 AONBs with each other and through time with their pre-farming species range. With the recent near-catastrophic decrease in pollinators, hedges’ function as reservoir for tens of thousands of species of insect (plus 600 species of flowering plants) is of critical importance.
Building a project partnership
Following a competition in 2018, we have partnered up with Golden Tree Productions, the community interest company behind the award winning Man Engine project, based on their submission, Kerdroya. Kerdroya is designed to celebrate the Cornish hedge as well as its role in the AONB landscape alongside involving our local communities in this process and delivering training and tourism benefits to Cornwall and local people.
The project provided an opportunity for everyone interested in getting involved in learning about Cornish hedges or in helping us to restore one of the sections. Between April and September 2019 Golden Tree Productions held a series of “have a go” events as well as talks in all of our 12 sections. These events involved both schools and local communities and they proved to be very popular and attracted a lot of interest.
Golden Tree Productions have since applied for planning permission to build a hedged labyrinth at Colliford Lake with the support of the South West Lakes Trust. Colliford Lake on Bodmin Moor, as one of the 12 sites, is likely to be the largest and last element of the project taking the form of a classical labyrinth built from traditional Cornish hedging, building on the different vernacular styles across the rest of Cornwall. This site will reclaim a currently disused car park off the A30 and inspire local people to enjoy and appreciate the wider landscape of Bodmin Moor, which lies adjacent to the communities of Liskeard and Bodmin.
Kerdroya embraces all 12 sections of the Cornwall AONB and consists of a 12-site trail of restored hedges, which will encourage local people and visitors to explore all 12 sections of the Cornwall AONB from Rame Head and Hartland in the east of the Duchy to West Penwith in the far west of the UK and the Lizard (South Coast Western) in the south.
In delivering each section of hedge we will work with the National Trust, the Pigshill and Clarrick Woodlands Community Interest Company, Cornwall Council, South West Water and South West Lakes Trust as landowners of the various hedge sites.
The Kerdroya project is designed with and for our local communities to deliver increased use, enjoyment and appreciation of the outstanding landscapes of Cornwall to improve the health and well-being of local people and our visitors.
The key aims of our Diamond Jubilee year
Celebrating – increasing public awareness of the value of the AONB landscape to Cornwall as an extraordinary environmental, social, cultural and economic asset.
Engaging –encouraging more people to experience the AONB landscape and feel healthier and happier for it. There is an emphasis on participation.
Interpreting – increasing people’s understanding of the distinctive environment, communities and history of each of the 12 AONB areas.
Connecting – inspiring communities within the AONB areas to celebrate their special environment and status.
Cultivating – contributing to the profile of the AONB by encouraging contemporary cultural activity that responds to the distinctive environment.