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Wildflower Wonderland

West Pentire Wildflower Wonder

A recent article by the National Trust which featured on local BBC news 'Spotlight' July 2013. This is part of the coast that the Pentire Hotel help support the maintenance of by collecting voluntary contributions from our guests...

Arriving perhaps a little later than usual this year were carpets of brilliant red poppies and yellow marigolds that flourished at National Trust owned fields on West Pentire, near Newquay.

The farmland here is managed specifically as a nature reserve for plants and animals, is not commercially farmed, and is one of only two such sites in Britain. The vast array of arable field wildflowers that the Trust is working to conserve at this much loved spot are, perhaps, reminiscent of the traditional non-intensive form of farming of the past that worked in harmony with nature. Unusually, for Cornwall, the site also has very lime rich grassland due to the wind blown sand deposits from the dunes.

As of March 1 this year the arable fields on West Pentire are now included in a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme (HLS) which will provide the funding and guidance to help the Trust, and tenant Bob Coad, continue to conserve and enhance the site for its amazing abundance and variety of arable farmland flowers.

National Trust Head Ranger, Mike Simmonds, said "We are thrilled that anyone who walks along this stretch of coastline at the moment will be able to experience the simply stunning sight of these wildflowers. With the help of Bob and local volunteers from the Botannical Cornwall Group, we are able to catalogue what flowers and plants are growing. We really hope that all forms of wildlife at West Pentire will continue to flourish".

This ongoing work should also offer increased shelter for ground nesting birds like skylark and encourage corn buntings to use the site. The Trust hopes that the ‘wow-factor’ of seeing swathes of poppies and corn marigolds in the summer will continue to be something to look forward to.

The HLS scheme extends across to include the Kelseys, a headland adjacent to West Pentire. The focus here will be on good grassland management and grazing to achieve the restoration of a species rich flora. The aim is to extend the range of maritime species such as thrift, kidney vetch, eyebright, bird’s foot trefoil, ladies bedstraw, squill and wild carrot, whilst conserving the calcium loving plants like cowslips. The tightly cropped grasslands and cliff slopes here are, of course, also ideal feeding grounds for the chough, which is trying to get a foothold back in North Cornwall.