Students at Duchy College Rosewarne, part of The Cornwall College Group, have turned part of the campus into a new nature reserve, just minutes from the centre of Camborne. The groups of students from the FdSc Conservation & Countryside Management and the Level 3 countryside, horticulture and agriculture programmes have been working together to plan, design and carry out the work.

The nature reserve, which extends to around six acres in total, is made up of several areas including a 50 year-old area of woodland, young woodland and margins around cropping areas currently used by the farm. A wetland area has also been excavated thanks to help from the students on the construction courses.

Nick Taylor, Countryside and Conservation Course Manager at Duchy College, said: “Although still in its infancy stages, the nature reserve has already started to attract an array of wildlife, including deer. Patches of non-native trees have been cleared and students are already noticing self-seeded native trees including ash, hawthorn, blackthorn and holly that have now started to grow. The vegetation that was removed is being used by the students to create paths, path edging and seating areas so nothing has gone to waste.”

It is hoped that this year the students can make good use of the nature reserve for surveying purposes. The twice-annual bioblitz will be a great opportunity to see what impact the nature reserve has had on wildlife, and flora and fauna across the site, when compared with results from previous years. The Level 3 students study a green woodworking module and are currently using willow that has been coppiced to weave baskets.

Nick continued: “This is such a valuable addition to the students’ CVs; what a great opportunity to say that they’ve worked on a real-life project. Not only is it great for the local wildlife, but it is a fantastic teaching resource for us here at the College and the students also learn how to add value from a business point of view, for example with the green woodworking.”

Next year the students will write habitat management plans for the nature reserve and the long-term vision is to make the area open to the public and offer tours at the open day in June to show off the students’ hard work.