Sunday 22 May 2011


Rewind to my blog post of 15th March last year, in which I reported that we had a contractor on site to carry out the restoration of about 400 metres of old cart-track which hadn't been used for 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, this plant has only been recorded from the Lizard peninsula but even here it has undergone a severe decline.

March 2010: Initial scrub clearance along the route of the track

May 2010: excavated trackway

Last week a visitor wrote in our sightings book "Let's hear it for sedges!", followed by a list of sedges and rushes. Of particular note was their count of no less than 53 Pygmy Rush plants - along the "new track"! Local naturalist Tony Blunden and I had a look and found them (well he found them and pointed them out to me!), along with lots of Yellow Centaury and even a tiny patch of Pillwort, both of which are also rarities.

The same view, last week

Flowering Pygmy Rush (about 5cms tall)

As Tony said, I think we can call that a success. Many thanks to Andy Byfield of Plantlife for arranging funding for this work.


  1. I did a thorough survey of that tracks yesterday and counted several over a hundred pigmy rush plants as well as thousands of yellow centaury plants. The other newly created trackways hold good numbers of yellow centaury and several of the other dried out puddles hold literally hundreds of pigmy rush plants. Windmall Farm is surely now the UK stronghold for pigmy rush and you are to be congratulated for its excellent management. On a separate note, I think the Blue-headed Wagtails may have returned to breed too.

  2. Hi Andy - I am writing from British Wildlife magazine and we have an upcoming article on the Lizard coming out soon. The authors are really keen to include your three images of the trackway - would you be able to drop me an email at and we can discuss the finer details including payment. We are happy to pay £30 per image used. Best wishes Catherine