In our small way, Tregolls is helping conservation in Cornwall with the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI). We had two volunteers recording the flora and fauna on our patch over a single day, in May 2017. We knew we were lucky enough to have a rich variety of life on the farm, but even we were surprised by the results with nearly 90 different plant varieties, let alone countless insects.
There’s some great names that we found in the list from Cat’s-ear, Pignut, Soft-rush, Water-pepper and Sticky Mouse-ear! Often you can understand why the plants have particular names – take Sticky Mouse-ear for instance. It’s not the little white flowers that give it the unusual name, we think, but have a look at the leaves!
We have a number of different habitats, with a stream, woodland and fields to attract lots of different species, we get some interesting types. Water Figwort, really looks the colour of figs and thrives in our damp woodland and meadows.
Some of these plants would have been collected by our ancestors for their purported healing properties; plants like Sanicle, of which it was said: "he who has sanicle and self-heal needs neither physician nor surgeon". They were used to help purify the blood and aid healing. We don't know if it works, but it certainly looks a little magical!
In our survey there were also a number of insects that were spotted, from Azure and Common Blue-tailed damselflies to meadow grasshoppers and water-crickets. It’s great to know we are doing our bit to keep the planet going with four types of bee, from the Small Garden bumble bee to the Buff-tailed. We love our Orange tipped butterfly, which we often see around the farm as well as the hauntingly beautiful Blood-vein moth.
We hope to create some I-spy leaflets for our younger visitors to spot during their stay, but we will put a copy of the survey list in the Play Barn in the meantime.