A PROJECT to control bracken in an area around one of Cornwall’s best known ancient landmarks has begun.
The project to spray a “highly selective” herbicide on bracken around Lanyon Quoit follows the introduction of ponies to graze the land on Trengwainton Farm near Penzance.
Contractors will monitor the level of bracken on farmer Stephen Bone’s land then spray it with Asulox as part of a conservation grazing scheme.
Gerald Babcock, of Babcock Rural Services, is responsible for carrying out the bracken spraying.
He said: “The aim is to return a healthy biodiversity to the area which is at present dominated by almost wall to wall bracken and overgrown Purple Moor Grass.
“We use the “Micron Ulva” method, spraying on foot, as mechanical bracken control would damage the rich, fragile archaeology present.
“The overall result of the spraying programme and pony grazing together with other attention to the area is hoped to be a more open and accessible area whilst maintaining the wildlife habitat and archaeology present.”
Weather permitting, it is anticipated that 24 acres of bracken will be treated on the heathland around Lanyon Quoit this year.
Stephen Bone says he will also employ archeological specialists to ensure the appropriate clearance of the areas.
Bryony Charman and Perran Willy, who are already involved in their grandfather Gerald Babcock’s conservation project near Pendeen, are monitoring the results of the herbicide. The ten-year-old cousins will then record, by photography, the success of the scheme, which started with the introduction of six Dartmoor Ponies at Lanyon.
Bryony has four Shetland Ponies which are conservation-grazing the moors at Longstone Downs near Pendeen. And Perran has accompanied his granddad on trips to Scotland to collect rare Whitebred Shorthorn cattle which are now grazing moors near Pendeen. Mr Babcock said: “It is important to get the younger generations involved in these conservation projects on our Penwith moors. These skills have to be passed on to give long lasting protection to our wildlife.
“We have to employ new skills nowadays as, sadly, the old ways that I learned when I was my grandchildren’s’ age are no longer financially viable.
“Because of this we have seen, over the last 40 years, the deterioration and abandonment of our precious Penwith Moors.”