15th March 2010
The contractors arrived on site in beautiful spring sunshine this morning. They are here to continue the restoration of about 400 metres of old cart-track (photo left, following the edge of the willows) which hasn't been used for many, many years. When these ancient thoroughfares across the Lizard heathlands were in regular use, they provided ideal habitat for some extremely rare plants such as Pygmy Rush, which requires repeated ground disturbance to survive. In Britain, the plant has only been recorded from the Lizard but even here it has undergone a severe decline.
When we enlarged Ruan Pool in 2004, all the spoil was carried off by tractor and trailer along a short section of this track. Andy Byfield of Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity, was very pleased about this as, in so doing, we had restored it to how it would have been in former days.
Things looked encouraging when a large colony of Slender Centaury, another Red Data Book species, appeared along the route the vehicles had taken, and then, last year, over 40 Pygmy Rush plants were discovered. Their seeds had obviously been lying dormant in the soil all that time.
After helping the contractor sort out the route he needed to take, I had a bimble round, hoping to find an incoming migrant or two. There weren't any in yet, but I had three lingering Fieldfares, a Woodcock, ten Teal and a male Dartford Warbler just over the fence on the perimeter of the adjacent airfield. Nice to see, considering the very cold winter he's endured.