by Louise Lever
The Red River Valley Local Nature Reserve (LNR) near Camborne has a new group of friends who have taken on the task of looking after the areas of valuable natural habitat in the valley.
The Red River Rescuers have already held a series of conservation days over the autumn and winter.
Since the end of tin streaming in the valley during the last century, areas that were once bare ground and open water have gradually been returning to a more natural state and this means some habitats are disappearing.
At Bell Lake Marsh a large area of scrub has been cleared to restore an area of wetland which is one of the best remaining dragonfly sites along the Red River valley.
The marsh is home to breeding colonies of the nationally scarce Small Red Damselfly and Keeled Skimmer.
But in the last 10 years it has lost it’s colony of the Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly and in the last 30 years a colony of Marsh Fritillary butterflies.
First year Geography students from the University of Exeter at Tremough also spent two muddy days removing silt and vegetation from the marsh to retain areas of open water which are critical to the dragonflies’ survival.
The group has recently been given a boost with the generous donation of hand tools and safety clothing by Western Power Distribution.
These tools will enable the volunteers to continue the work of controlling willow and other invasive plants which have been slowly taking over the open spaces along the river.
Rescuer Steve Jones said: “It’s fantastic to see the positive impact that our volunteers have had on these hugely important wetland habitats at the very core of the Red River Valley LNR.
“Working along the old tin streaming sites is so worthwhile and enjoyable.”
Cormac Countryside Officer Gavin Henderson said: “It’s impressive to see what can be achieved when people come together to help look after the local environment.
“In less than six months the efforts of this newly formed group have already resulted in the transformation of one of the most important wildlife habitats in the valley.
“This Local Nature Reserve covers more than 50 hectares and is over four miles long so there is plenty of scope for the group to carry out further projects and we’ll be continuing to support them with this work.”
The Red River Rescuers next conservation day will be held at Bell Lake Marsh today Saturday 23 February from 11am.
If you would like to lend a hand just switch off your laptop, get out the front door and come along!
It will keep you fit while you have fun AND enjoy a bit of constructive destruction!