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Windmill Farm...   

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Contact the Windmill Farm Warden HERE

Northern and central sections of the farm, showing boundaries outlined in red

 photo courtsey of  626 (Predannack) Volunteer Gliding Squadron

 

This 83 hectare (205 acre) reserve is on the western side of the Lizard peninsula, a mile or so inland at SW694152.  It comprises about 50 hectares of grassland and over 20 hectares of heathland, with the remainder made up of scrub, bog, swamp and hedgerow. It was purchased with the aid of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Lewis Frost Memorial Fund and receives funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.  There is an information centre on site.  Much of the practical management work on the reserve is carried out by the Reserves Team of the joint-owners, Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

 

Four ponds have been dug in our wetland creation project, designed to benefit birds, dragonflies and aquatic plants. Another pond on the farm, Ruan Pool, has been restored to its original size. Hides have been built to overlook two of the pools.

The fields which were formerly managed intensively for dairy farming are now maintained as a mixture of rough grazing and organic hay meadows. We work in partnership with local farmers. The nutrients in the soil are gradually decreasing, leading to a greater diversity of flora and invertebrates.
Most of the heathland had become overgrown due to a lack of management, leading to the loss of some of the less dominant plants We have therefore introducing a grazing regime which will in time allow a more varied flora to become re-established.

An arable plot has been set aside in one corner of the farm, comprising kale and quinoa, mixed cereals, linseed and arable weeds. These are “sacrificial” crops, grown purely for feeding birds in the autumn and winter and attracting other wildlife.
The new habitats we’ve created have swelled the populations of some of the bird species on the reserve and added some new ones to the bird-list. A variety of warblers breed in good numbers and include two or three pairs of Grasshopper Warblers. We also have breeding Buzzards, Sparrowhawks, Cuckoos, Skylarks and Reed Buntings, whilst Swallows nest in the disused farm buildings.  Barn Owls are occasionally seen.
Due to the reserve's proximity to the coast, many migrants pass through in spring and autumn. These include regular Merlin, Hobby, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, Wheatear, Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail and various warblers and finches. In winter there are large flocks of Lapwings and Golden Plover around, along with Hen Harriers, Snipe, Jack Snipe and a variety of wildfowl.

The farm's bird-list now stands at 166 species. Rarities include Great White Egret, Black Kite, American Golden Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Citrine Wagtail, Iberian Chiffchaff and "Balearic" Woodchat Shrike. New species added in 2011 were Bewick’s Swan, Bee-eater, Tawny Owl, Spotted Redshank, Little Gull, Greylag Goose and Brent Goose.
The farm is also a great place for so much more than just birds. Resident butterflies include a colony of Marsh Fritillaries; 17 species of dragonflies have been recorded, including Lesser Emperor and annual Red-veined Darter; the rare moths Small Grass Emerald, Square-spot Dart and L-album Wainscot are all present; along with plants such as Sea Storksbill, Pale Butterwort and masses of Cornish Heath, found only on the Lizard. The ponds contain three species of stonewort, including the Red Data Book Strawberry Stonewort, leading to us receiving a generous grant from Plantlife for pond creation.

Broad Bodied Chaser at the farm
 

To find the farm, follow the A3083 Helston to Lizard road. 3 kms after the B3296 to Mullion Cove, look out for a sign for “Wild Camping” on the right-hand side. Take the next right and follow the lane straight on until you arrive at the farm-yard. Please drive slowly along the lane. There is general access, subject to a few exceptions, details of which you’ll find on display.  Please bear in mind that, although the farm trails are partially board-walked, it can still be very muddy so you should wear appropriate footwear (wellies are essential in winter or after heavy rain!).  There have been a number of incidents of gates being left open.  As we have grazing animals this can create big problems.  Please leave gates as you find them.

 

 

   
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 Above photographs, all taken at Windmill Farm, by Andy Pay, except aerial view