In search of the Lizard’s lost shipwrecked souls
Pistil Cove, where the shipwreck victims possibly washed ashore. Photo M Hirst
Recent survey work has brought archaeologists closer to solving a 300 year old shipwreck mystery at Lizard Point.
In November 1721, 207 unfortunate sailors lost their lives in a ferocious storm when their military transport galley the Royal Anne hit rocks and sank off Lizard Point. Just three people survived that fateful night by clinging to wreckage. Among the dead was Lord Belhaven the newly appointed Governor of Barbados, who was leaving Britain’s shores to take up the posting in mysterious circumstances after the untimely death of his wife.
The Charles, a similar galley to the Royal Anne
The Royal Anne was designed by the Marquis of Carmarthen, and had been launched in 1709 as a small and speedy warship, designed to be equally at home under oar and sail so as not to be outmanoeuvred by pirates.
Ponds, Pirates and Pooters: an update of the last six months with the Wild Lizard Project
Linking the Lizard through Education
The Wild Lizard Project is now in its third year and is a joint funded project hosted by the National Trust in partnership with Natural England, the Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (HVMCA) Group and for 2014/15 Cornwall Wildlife Trust. This unique partnership has funded a Wild Lizard Education Ranger to deliver environmental educational across the Lizard on behalf of the organisations funding the project.
So what have we been up to since January?
The past seven months has seen the project deliver outdoor experiences for over 1000 school children on the Lizard, working schools both on and off the Lizard. From January to July 2015 the project supported the delivery of over 50 school visits in seven months. We have been busy!
As part of the evaluation process we collected some great feedback from teachers who come out with us.
Elle Watkins a teacher from St Martin in Meneage KS2 teacher commented “I haven’t undertaken many school trips before so having Claire provides us with more opportunities to get outdoors.
There is no better way to enjoy the Lizard than by walking or running on its many beautiful paths, byways, and lanes. In June, my daughter and I walked from Lizard village to Kynance along the coast path and back along the inland route. It was a fantastic day with clear blue skies but a good breeze. The fulsome swell, once heaved over the rocks, became intoxicated with the bubbles that gave it a greenish colour before breaking over the shore. We sat on the springy turf on the far side of a stile to watch a kestrel hovering over a precipitous cliff, just a few metres away from us. This expansive coastal landscape is in contrast to the secluded valleys through which I ran just the other day, on another exploration of the Lizard on foot. Starting from Tenerife campsite near Mullion, my route took me up the evocatively titled Ghost Hill to the chocolate factory, through Mullion, down to Poldhu (and up the other side!) and then through the lanes in a figure of eight, taking in some rougher farm lanes and steep ups and downs into and out of little river valleys.
Balearic Island visitors
Fig1: Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus)*
The Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus is Europe’s only Critically Endangered seabird with a population thought to be around 3200 breeding pairs (18000-25000 individuals). The breeding population is mostly restricted to the Balearic archipelago but the seas around Cornwall are very important foraging areas especially for young birds.
On their island homes, colonies of Balearic shearwaters are at risk of predation from introduced mammals and they are prone to fisheries bycatch which combined are reducing adult and chick survival. Research by various organisations and individuals is ongoing including satellite tagging which will help target mitigation for bycatch and to highlight areas that are important feeding grounds to afford them better protection.