Grazing supported for Penwith moorland
10:00am Sunday 2nd September 2012 in News
Plans to begin grazing a patch of common land in West Cornwall have received support from people attending two information walks.
These were held by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Wild Penwith project, designed to explain the grazing proposals for common land at Tor Noon and Higher Downs near Morvah.
Over a dozen people attended the walks, with the trust saying they were supportive of proposals to graze using specially designed temporary electric fencing that was intended to be unobtrusive and take into account people's access across the moors.
The Cornwall Wildlife Trust is working with local farmer Lisa Guy who would like to graze the two areas of moorland using her commoner's rights.
The moors and their uses have changed over the years: they are no longer grazed, and scrub and bracken is no longer cut.
The trust said this has resulted in open areas for wildlife such as wildflowers, birds, insects and mammals becoming overgrown, and without management could be lost.
This could affect species like the blue flowered heath milkwort, the brightly coloured small copper butterfly and skylarks.
There are two proposed options for grazing Tor Noon and Higher Downs: to either use the temporary fencing to graze these areas as a whole, or to use it to create compartments to graze areas in smaller sections.
The people visiting the information days were asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire about their views on the proposals.
The feedback indicated people supported the farmer's proposals, with the preferred option overall being to use temporary electric fencing to graze the areas as a whole. A total of 77 per cent said they supported the plans and 23 per cent said “I don't mind.”
Representatives of St Just Town Council, Penwith Access and Rights of Way (PAROW) and Save Penwith Moors also visited.
Liz Cox, Wild Penwith project manager, said: “As we felt people favoured our proposals to graze these areas as a whole using temporary electric fencing, rather than grazing in smaller sections, the next step would be to apply to the Secretary of State for permission to do this.”
She added this process would take some time and involve further consultation.
Lisa Guy, the farmer involved, thanked everyone who attended for their “positive and useful feedback.”
Kate Goodman, a local from Sancreed who came on one of the walks, said: “I really appreciated the time and trouble taken to show and inform us of the two options. The non-permanent fencing and great thought given to access for people makes for a very different and positive view of grazing these areas.”
Photo by Liz Cox. Caption: A view of the proposed temporary fencing (on the left) at Higher Downs.