A group of local residents in West Cornwall is helping re-kindle a tradition of cutting gorse to heat their homes.
Organised as part of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Wild Penwith project, the group spent a day clearing gorse to open up the wet heathland, home to many rare native plants.
Those helping were able to take home the furze ‘stogs’ (the stems) for firewood while the ‘sticks’(the branches and needles) were piled up for a large bonfire.
Thomas Eddy, aged 12, from Chyenhal Farm said: “Me, my sister and friends cut our own path through the head-high gorse. The marshmallows we cooked on the bonfire were yummy and it made a change from working on the farm. I'd really like to do it again”
The Wild Penwith project is working with local farmers and landowners to restore and re-connect wildlife habitats and improve water quality across West Penwith.
Jan Dinsdale, Wild Penwith ecologist for Cornwall Wildlife Trust, who led the day said, “In the past this common land at Chyenhal, near Paul and Newlyn, was very valuable to people living in the village, providing willow withys for making crab pots and grazing for a few animals as well as firewood.
"The land is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, of national importance for rare and threatened plant species including pillwort, three-lobed water crowfoot, coral necklace and dwarf rush.
"These tiny native plants once thrived in the open muddy tracks and pools created by people using the moor, but over the years they have been shaded-out by the growth of willow and gorse. The work we’ve done so far has opened up some beautiful pools and open muddy patches to benefit the wildflowers.”