Over 20 local people turned out on a sunny Saturday morning to help clear gorse and bramble from heathland in West Cornwall.

The day at Lanyon Farm, at Bosullow near Pendeen, was organised as part of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Wild Penwith project.

Helping were students from the University of Exeter, based at Penryn's Tremough campus.

Dr Jan Dinsdale, Wild Penwith ecologist who led the day, said: “It was fantastic to have the help of local people and families, along with students from Tremough, to help clear invading scrub from the Bosilliack bronze-age settlement.

“By the end of the day we had also created a 'gorse maze' - routes for the stock to move through the dense vegetation and find their way round the whole area.”

The land is farmed by the Bone family, whose Devon cattle will now be out grazing the rough land at Lanyon this summer to help open up the heathland and wetland habitats for wild flowers and improve access for people.

Dr Dinsdale added: “The farmers, Stephen Bone and his family, really have their work cut out managing close to 250 hectares of heathland and wetland at Lanyon and Boswarva Farms.

“Much of this rough ground was grazed by their cattle, up until 25 years ago or so, but without grazing in recent years the heathland is now in quite poor condition.

“The heathers, bell heather, ling and cross-leaved heath, which give the moorland its fantastic purple hue in mid-summer, are being lost to bracken, purple moor-grass and dense European Gorse.”

By clearing the land this should give a chance for these plants to return.

Mark Nunns, community action co-ordinator from Falmouth & Exeter Students' Union, said that Saturday marked the last day of National Student Volunteering Week, making it the ideal chance for students to do something helpful and active in the community.

“It was excellent to have the opportunity to bring a group of our students to such a wonderful place and help out with this great project,” he added.

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.

Photos by Jan Dinsdale. Captions: 1 - Local people and students from Exeter University working together on the farm. 2 - Sam Bottrell from Bosence Farm gets stuck in clearing bramble from the bronze-age settlement.