wild by design - wildwalks

Wild Walks

Ferns Walk from Cotehele Quay
Sylvia’s Meadow
Isles of Scilly Wildlife Holiday
Gardens of Cornwall Three Day Tour
Wild Food Walks

Claire Roper

I have been leading guided walks for many years, previously in the New Forest and latterly in the Tamar Valley, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. I focus on interpreting the landscape, general natural history, botany, edible and medicinal plants. I will also introduce elements of ecology and habitat management for conservation, and here in Cornwall we can touch on the rich industrial archaeological heritage of the area. I can adapt a walk to your own special interests, or provide a tailor-made walk during your holiday down here. Here are some of the walks and holidays on offer.

Fern Walk from Cotehele Quay:back to top

From late spring to autumn – a half day, easy level walk of about 2.5 kilometres, looking at a number of rare fern species including the Maidenhair ferns in the derelict lime kilns, Wall-rue, Rusty-back on the mortared walls, Hay-scented buckler-fern on the damp banks, and Lemon-scented fern along the lane. As well as admiring these fascinating lower plants, I will cover the basics of fern identification and ecology so as to enable you to continue enjoying and naming ferns in your own right. This walk can easily be extended to the afternoon to explore the Cotehele woods with stunning views of the Tamar Valley.

Contact me directly for other dates by arrangement.

Rusty-Back Fern

Rusty-Back Fern

Sylvias’s Meadow – Looking at Orchids:back to top

Late spring and through the summer – a visit to one of the last remaining pieces of herb rich unimproved meadow in Cornwall.

This meadow was not cultivated in the second world war in the bid to “dig for victory” because troops were billeted here. This has in effect afforded it a long continuity of management which has allowed the survival of the species rich sward. More recently it was purchased by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and is now run by the trust as a reserve. Up to nine species of orchid have been recorded here , and each year is different. We regularly record Autumn Lady’s-tresses, Greater and Lesser Butterfly-orchid and Southern Marsh-orchid plus many mystifying hybrids. The Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s warden Peter Kent has been working hard to get the managemant right including scrub clearance and grazing, and have obviously succeeded by the displays we have had for the last two years. As one of the informal voluntary wardens of the site, I can meet you by arrangement for a guided walk. Email me to set a date.

Marbled White Butterfly

Marbled White Butterfly

Isles of Scilly:back to top

For the second year, I will be co-leading a wildlife trip with Rosemary Parslow – the Botanical Society of the British Isles’ recorder and author of the New Naturalist book on the Isles of Scilly. Based on St Mary’s we will be visiting all of the off-isles, looking at the unique flora, birds, seals and hopefully cetaceans.

This trip is bookable via Wildlife Travel (the tour organisers associated with the Wildlife Trusts to whom all profits are donated ) www.wildlife-travel.co.uk

Tresco Abbey Gardens

Tresco Abbey Gardens

Gardens of Cornwall Three Day Tourback to top

Staying in East Cornwall at the four star Georgian town house “Lower House” we will be well placed to strike out to a selection of the many famous gardens of Cornwall and West Devon . From the nearby National Trust gardens at Cotehele, to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, the Eden Project, Garden House, Rosemoor, Ince Castle, Pentillie and more. Book through Lower House www.lower-house.com and check their website for further details of accomodation and dates.

The Eden Project

The Eden Project - Photo by Lucy Turnbull

Wild Food Walksback to top

I also offer wild food walks, foraging here in the Tamar Valley and along the north coast of Cornwall for both edible and medicinal plants. We will explore local woodlands and hedgerows together, hone our identification skills and forage for food as well as most importantly - learning what to avoid! As well as enjoying ourselves in the countryside, foraging and learning some wild food recipes, and herbal remedies, we will also talk about the status of plants here in Cornwall, their habitats and wider environmental issues.

Ramsons lining the lane to Cotehele Mill

Ramsons lining the lane to Cotehele Mill