Inga Curley, Volunteer Warden

I’m Inga and I’m a long-term volunteer working with the National Trust on the Lizard.

Last September, I came to work for the National Trust so that I could get some practical experience of countryside management and a greater understanding of habitats and conservation issues.

I’ve been involved with various project work – including the Polbrean Youth Hostel and Kynance Cove landscape restoration projects – and received training through a number of in-house schemes, as well as Tap Routes – which is an Objective One funded scheme.

Public assets

Living and working on the Lizard has been a real pleasure. Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have a stunning natural environment – and its beauty is something that attracts many visitors as well as being enjoyed by local people.

The maintenance of this asset has been achieved by a combination of designation, ownership and careful stewardship.

A National Trust survey in 1998 highlighted the fact that 81% of holiday trips to Cornwall are motivated by the high quality of the landscape and environment. You have already heard about land as a producer, and now I want to talk about land as an asset.

Many users enjoy Cornwall’s moors, paths, beaches, woods and rivers. The region also has a rich cultural heritage stretching from the stone circles and earthworks of the very first Cornish people to the more recent industrial heritage of our tin mines.

And all of these things are public assets – assets that Objective One is working to preserve and enhance so that they can both be enjoyed by generations to come and used in a sustainable fashion for the economic benefit of the region.

English Nature

A key role in providing the overall strategy behind that work is provided by English Nature.

As well as being a lead partner of the group that advises the programme on environmental sustainability, English Nature manages large areas of The Lizard and is developing innovative approaches to sustainable tourism.

And as a strategic partner, they have been working with organisations across Cornwall to come up with ways to develop the rural economy and enhance our public assets – particularly our natural environment – in a way that also safeguards it for the future.

The Lizard

On The Lizard, the National Trust has been working on a variety of projects:

improving the landscape by removing unsightly modern intrusions and improving access for visitors – we’ve put in a Cornish hedge and removed a dilapidated bungalow – the loss to the community of which has been balanced by giving land for the Devon & Cornwall rural Housing Association for providing five homes for local people
The Trust and English Nature have also been working with farmers to both maximise the economic potential of the land and to develop agricultural practices that respect and safeguard our natural environment – work that has played an important role in helping us to bring breeding Choughs back to Cornwall
We’ve been developing sustainable tourism and enhancing the use of our heritage through the Marconi Centre, a low-impact visitor centre built with Objective One help in 2001 to celebrate the centenary of the Lizard’s role in the birth of modern communications that is also sensitive to the site’s environment
We’ve been generating local employment by finding new uses for old buildings, through the conversion of a redundant hotel into a new youth hostel – which also involved finding a suitable use for a building in an important coastal setting, as well as bringing a new type of visitor to the Lizard
Improving the quality of, and access to, the public product by a programme of work at Kynance Cove – one of Cornwall’s quintessential tourism icons – where we wanted to ensure we were providing high quality facilities for visitors that also respect the extremely sensitive setting. Work there will include providing new facilities in a less conspicuous location, in a building designed to blend into the landscape and minimise its impact on the environment through a range of environmental building features – including energy and water saving measures

The key philosophy behind all these projects is sustainable tourism – which also means responsible tourism.

Like its farming landscape, Cornwall’s leisure landscape is one of its biggest assets. Which is why, the better we look after it, the greater use – and economic benefit – we will be able to gain from it in the long term.

Whether we use our land for work or for play, it’s part of that distinctive mix that helps define Cornwall.

The environment has also played a key role in shaping Cornwall’s culture and creative arts, and to explain more, let me hand over to Steve Manser.