Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Be tick aware this summer

At this time of the year unfortunately there’s a danger we should all be cautious of when out and about, especially in areas of long grass and moorland. Places like these are the perfect habitat for the tiny blood sucking parasites, known as ticks.

Ticks are particularly prevalent between April and October. These tiny bloodsuckers attach themselves to exposed skin and need special care to remove as their head and body can detach. The greatest danger is infection which can lead to Lyme disease.

Lyme disease causes a range of unpleasant symptoms which may include a circular red rash, headaches, a stiff neck, extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and disturbances of sight, hearing, digestive system and sleep. If left untreated it can progress to the joints, the heart and the nervous system.

To reduce the risk of being bitten by an infected tick, the charity Lyme Disease Action advises parents and their children to take the following precautions:

·         Wear long sleeves and trousers
·         Wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to spot
·         Use an insect repellent effective against ticks (look for those containing the chemical DEET)
·         Keep to pathways and try to avoid areas of overgrown vegetation
·         Check for ticks regularly during the day
·         Remove any ticks found attached as soon as possible
·         Pack a tick remover if walking or holidaying away from home

Tick removal
Example of what to look out for!

Ticks should be removed immediately with a tick removal tool or fine pointed tweezers. Gently pull the tick's body away from your skin directly outwards, without jerking. Do not try to pull the tick out with your fingers, burn the tick or cover it with creams or chemicals.

If you have been bitten by a tick and notice any of the above symptoms, seek medical help straight away. Diagnosed and treated early, Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics.  NB tick bites do not itch like mosquito bites, so awareness is important to aid diagnosis.

For more information, help and advice about ticks and Lyme disease take a look at the Lyme Disease Action website, you will also find a number of useful leaflets and posters there. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Appeal for upcoming photographic exhibition

The annual CHAHP Mining Landscape Celebration opens at Stuart House on Tuesday 28 June. This year the two week event will be about the darker side of mining. Despite the grim content it promises to be an interesting and revealing look at the life of miners and their families in the area when mining made fortunes for some and widows of others.

There will be an unusual photographic exhibition of headstones from the local cemeteries. The one below, of Richard and Catherine Smith’s in St Cleer Cemetery, is a fascinating example.

We are looking for more photographs to feature in this intriguing exhibition which will show the local headstones, the sad reminders of the dangers of mine, quarry or railway work in the area. We really want this to be a true community event and appeal to anyone who enjoys photography to get in touch. Photographs will be displayed in Stuart House for two weeks. Please email our Officer, Iain Rowe, irowe1@cornwall.gov.uk with photographs and, or locations.

Monday, 23 May 2011

This weekend in the Caradon Hill area

Exploring St Cleer Downs for butterflies
On Saturday a butterfly walk was led across St Cleer Downs by Paul Brewer from Cornwall Butterfly Conservation and our Officer, Jane Uglow. Children and adults enjoyed an interesting exploration of the area despite the cloudy weather, luckily the rain did hold off! As it was not particularly sunny there were not many butterflies about, although two different species were spotted, the Speckled Wood and the Small Pearl-Border Fritillary, a less common one. There were also a number of day flying moths about.

Although the weather was not perfect for butterfly spotting the group were able to learn about where to find butterflies and how to identify them. Paul also gave the group an explanation about the needs and requirements of butterfly recording. Jane helped examine and identify plants on the walk, even finding a group of orchids coming into flower which were possibly lesser butterfly orchids, platanthera bifolia, on the downs.

Sheep shearing training at West Penquite Farm

A sheep shearing course was held for five trainees over the Saturday and Sunday. Working with Liskeard Young Farmer Club CHAHP facilitated this training. All of the participants are actively involved in farming in the area and are members of YFC. The course was led by Digory Truscott, British Wool Board Instructor, who demonstrated British Wool standards. It was a really successful weekend and it is hoped the course will run again next year.

Very special thanks to Mr and Mrs Dymond who kindly gave permission for the course to be held on their land at West Penquite Farm.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Balsam Bashing every Saturday

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam is a pretty, but extremely invasive non-native plant that is spreading with devastating effects on the area. The plant quickly takes root and drowns out its surrounding vegetation as it grows up to 10ft. It also attracts bees which tend to favour it over smaller flowers meaning fewer native plants are pollinated; this has been detrimental to many farm crops.

Every Saturday in May and June St Cleer Parish Projects Group has organised a balsam bashing work party meeting at the open ground at Higher Tremar Coombe, PL14 5HP. Starting at 10am volunteers are invited to come and be the solution. Pulling up the balsam is easy as the plant has very short roots and this is the most effective way of reducing its spread.

If you are interested in coming to help simply turn up, wear appropriate clothes for the weather and good sturdy footwear. Remember a bottle of water and gloves, although the balsam is not spikey. To find out more about this invasive species take a look at the RHS website. For more information please call Derris Watson on 01579 347 632 or email, derris.watson@btinternet.com.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Join Our New Parish Wildlife Groups - Members Needed!

An introductory meeting for parish wildlife groups was held at Upton Cross last night. The meeting was lead by Jen Bousfield from the Launceston Area Parish Wildlife Project. She gave a motivating and descriptive talk about how her group, which is now in its tenth year, has developed and what lessons can be learnt. Most importantly Jen said the group must be fun and enjoyable to all members. She also brought an interesting display of some of the most useful equipment the group has acquired over the years.

Following the meeting, there are now a number of fledgling wildlife groups covering St Ive, St Cleer, Darite and Linkinhorne who are looking for additional members and planning summer events.  For contacts details of the individual groups please contact Jane Uglow on 01579 362350 or email her on: juglow@cornwall.gov.uk

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Golitha Walk & Talk

We had a great turn out on Saturday for the Bluebells and Industry Walk around Golitha Falls led by Calum Beeson and Jane.

Under the clay pipe in Golitha

During the course of the walk Calum and Jane helped the group identify the various uses Golitha has had over the years. While discussing the different industrial remains the group followed the river through the nature reserve. The site’s geology, topography and wildlife provided a great deal of conversation and Calum even demonstrated how the river used to be panned. The walk concluded with a fantastic display of bluebells, which was breath taking.

If you haven’t already visited Golitha Falls it really is worth a look, a local beauty spot which is particularly special at this time of the year. For more information and directions, click here.

Monday, 9 May 2011

What’s going on up at the Mine?

Walk to discover what CHAHP will be doing at South Caradon Mine.
Tomorrow the CHAHP Team will lead a walk and talk around South Caradon Mine. Please come and join us to find out what will be happening. There will be some gentle ascents and unstable underfoot conditions, it is approximately 2.5 miles. Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.  
Tuesday May10th 10am to 1pm. Meet at Tokenbury Corner Carpark

Friday, 6 May 2011

Bluebells & Industry Walk tomorrow

Golitha's bluebells
Come and join Jane and local geological expert, Calum Beeson to explore the beautiful Golitha Falls. It's a great opportunity to find out more about the historical and natural environment of this special spot.

All ages are welcome, although children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. It will be a steady walk with plenty of chances to ask questions and find out more about the different uses of the area. Dogs are also welcome, but must be on a lead.

Meet at Draynes Car Park at 10:30am, it is free and will go ahead in all weather conditions.