A view of Windmill Farm looking north showing boundaries outlined in red. A small portion of the southern end is not shown. The windmill stump is in the centre of the picture. Picture by N. Climpson, aircraft by John and Shaunne Shaw.
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.
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.
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.
Interactive Windmill Farm map. Zoom in, expand and view/close layers (by using the red tick boxes) using icons in the grey title header.
Static map below, showing footpath routes. Screenshot from Google MyMaps, edited in Paint.
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