The Lizard Peninsula is renowned as being among the top four botanical sites in the UK due to its southerly aspect and the unique composition of its geology. During our 3-night stay we’ll explore maritime grazed heathland and pasture, sheltered sandy coves, impressive cliffs and inland acid habitats in search of botanical treasures, from diminutive clovers to stately Tree-mallows. Our botanical forays will include Lizard Point, a ramble along the coastal path from Kynance Cove and the outcrops of mineral-rich serpentine rocks in this area, which harbour a variety of unusual plant species. In early June many of the flowers should be at their best, and though the focus of this short break is on plant life, we will also enjoy birds and other wildlife as we make our leisurely daily excursions.
The Lizard peninsula points like a finger out into the English Channel, south of Helston. It is renowned as being amongst the top four botanical sites in the UK due to its southerly aspect and the unique composition of its geology. The headland consists of large areas of maritime grazed heathland and pasture, sheltered sandy coves, impressive cliffs and inland acid heath.
During our three-night stay we will explore all these habitats in search of their botanical treasures from the diminutive clovers to the stately Tree-mallows. On one day we will start with a search of the tide-line for maritime species at Gunwalloe Church Cove and visit the inland heath at Goonhilly Down before moving on to Lizard Point where we will take a short walk to the east along the cliff path. On another we will take a longer ramble along the coastal path from Kynance Cove to the small botanically rich Gew Graze valley below Kynance Farm. Here we will be especially seeking the curious outcrops of mineral-rich rock known as serpentine which harbour many of the more unusual species. Similarly a walk south from Cadgwith should prove rewarding.
• Scenic coastal walks with picturesque harbours
• Rare clovers including Long-headed, Upright and Twin-headed
• Beautiful flower-studded coves and valleys
• Breeding Choughs at Lizard point
• Rare plants and migrant birds in secluded Cornish valleys
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Présente le mardi et vendredi toute la journée
Wed 19th May - Sat 22nd May - 587 €
Wed 18th May - Sat 21st May - 623 €
-Accommodation: Accommodation will be in a comfortable hotel. All rooms have private facilities. Evening meals will be in an adjacent inn. Single occupancy rooms available at a supplementary cost.
-Food: Breakfast and evening meals are included in the tour price but lunches are not included.
* These tours are operated by Naturetrek (ABTA Y6206) for which Nature et Terroir acts as agent.
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NB. Please note that the itinerary below offers our planned programme of excursions. However, adverse weather & other local considerations can necessitate some re-ordering of the programme during the course of the tour, though this will always be done to maximise best use of the time and weather conditions available.
Arrival and The Lizard
The group will meet up at the Premier Inn at Helston in the early afternoon. Check-in is available from 2pm. Once we have settled in we will set off on a short afternoon excursion to the Lizard Peninsula. Our likely destination will be the charming beach and sand dunes at Gunwalloe Church Cove in the northwest of the peninsula. Here we will search for tideline species such as the pretty pink-flowered Sea Rocket, Sea Sandwort, Sea Holly, Sea Kale and possibly Ray’s or Sea Knotgrass, although the latter two are usually late-season flowerers.
We will return to the hotel in good time for dinner and later that evening, your tour leader will outline the programme for the next couple of days.
This morning, after breakfast, we will head back to the Lizard and will drive down to Lizard Village before continuing on foot to the point itself where we will look for the Choughs, if they are in residence, before walking along the coastal path to the east searching for interesting plants such as the Lizard specialty, the Long-headed Clover, Tree Mallow, Western Fumitory and Hairy Bird’s-foot Trefoil. We will keep half an eye on the sea for any passing cetaceans or Basking Sharks!
We will then move on to the National Trust car park at Kynance Cove and will walk down the paved track towards the beach but will no doubt be making a number of diversions up the grassy valley sides to examine the wealth of interesting plants. We should find Bloody Crane’s-bill, Spring Squill, Thyme Broomrape, Hairy Greenweed, Burnet Rose, Spring Sandwort and possibly Spotted Cat’s-ear.
When we arrive at the beach we will make a slow climb up to the spectacular cliff-top where we can look across to Asparagus Island (accessible at low-tide) named for its colony of this special plant, the Wild or Prostrate Asparagus. With luck we may find a few plants on the Kynance cliffs, hereabouts. We will then follow the coastal path northwards, botanising along the way until we reach the entrance to Gew Graze Valley. This grassy valley is a fascinating spot and has several serpentine outcrops. Special plants that occur here are Prostrate Broom, Juniper, Rosy Garlic, Pale Flax, Rough, Knotted, Subterranean and Twin-headed Clovers, Wild Chives, Dwarf Rush and Knotted Hedge-parsley.
On our way back we will take a more direct route across the heath, examining the damp rutted tracks for any late specimens of the tiny rare fern, Land Quillwort and Pygmy Rush, as well as any small pools for the Three-lobed Water Crowfoot.
Porthgwarra, St Just and Marazion
Today we will head west to visit the secluded valley and cove of Porthgwarra just 3 miles east of Land’s End. Rumoured to be an ancient smugglers route, this cove used to support a thriving fishing community but today is only used by the occasional crab fishermen. At the bottom of the valley we will follow the cliff path west a short way towards Land’s End to look for rare plants in the cliff-top heathland. Spring Squill is often abundant and the cries of Choughs resonate from the steep cliffs. We will also watch out for birds which often use this sheltered valley on migration.
We will then drive on to St Just where we will explore the valley at Nanquidno. Low-intensive farming practices in the fields around the valley support colonies of Purple Viper’s Bugloss, a common and often invasive plant on the continent but restricted in Britain to this small agricultural area at the tip of Cornwall. We may also visit one of the other valleys nearby such as Cot or Kenidjack.
Later, as we head back east, we will visit the beach and dunes at Marazion, where we may find several maritime species including the rare Small or Cretan Tree Mallow and the naturalised, autumn-flowering Sea Daffodil.
This morning we will return to The Lizard and visit the valley leading from the Lizard village green to Caerthillian Cove. Here we will look for more Lizard specialities such as Upright and Western Clover and the minute, succulent-leaved Fringed Rupturewort amongst others.
If time allows we will also visit the nearby Windmill Farm Nature reserve which is home to the scarce Marsh Fritillary butterfly and a flora more associated with damp habitats such as Heath Spotted Orchid, Pygmy Rush, Pale Butterwort and Sea Stork’s-bill.
The tour will conclude in the early afternoon.