We have kayaking out along the Helford River and it’s creeks on our Frenchman’s Creek Kayak Adventures since mid February and have been delighted to enjoy some wonderful wildlife sightings and perhaps the most special moment was mooring up at the end of Frenchman’s Creek by the Iron Duke wreck and seeing the leaves burst out of the buds on the trees over Easter weekend.
Spring has sprung, the river is coming to life with wildlife.
Earlier in the year the herons could be spotted perched in the branches of the ancient oak trees along Frenchman’s Creek, but more recently they have be scarce. Yet kayak along Polwheveral Creek on our low tide tour and you can hear the familiar squarks of the prehistoric looking birds. They are nesting high up in the ancient oaks trees in the heronry.
Herons nesting, Polwheveral Creek Herony, Cornwall
The egrets have swelled in numbers this year too with Little Egrets and Cattle Egrets being sighted. The cattle egrets are slightly smaller and rarer than Little Egrets and often spend time by cattle. Until recently the fields along Frenchman’s Creek have been filled with cattle and cattle egrets.
Meanwhile the Little Egret is a small white heron with white feathers, black legs, black beak and yellow feet. It only appeared in the UK in 1989 and was bred in Dorset in 1996. Often thought of as an African bird, it is now a regular find on the Helford River and creeks for breeding and winter visits.
Herons and Little Egrets, Helford River, Cornwall
We just love seeing this birds soaring high up above the tree tops looking for their next prey. They are around all year, but they soar, display and call most in Spring!
Buzzard in flight, Helford River, Cornwall
There have been several sighting of Shelducks this Spring. Their black and white markings and bright red beaks make them look like large oyster catchers! They are ducks though, bigger than a mallard, but smaller than a goose. Numbers swell in Spring and they certainly have swelled on the Helford this year!
The wildlife along our St Agnes coastline is simply stunning at this time of year. These are the birds and mammals you are likely to see whilst out on our North Coast Kayak Adventure this Spring.
The grey seals are popping up as curious as ever and it is good to see the resident bull seal ‘Silverback’ his usual sociable and inquisitive self!
The Atlantic Grey seal can live up to 30 to 40 years old and so we should be seeing him for a few more years yet! There are a few greay seals being sighted at the moment and their numbers will swell later in the year – more on that in our Summer Wildlife update!
‘Silverback’ the resident bull seal, St Agnes Coastline, Cornwall
Swimming around us along the St Agnes Coastline, Cornwall
Guillimots and Razerbills
The guillemots and razerbills are here from March through to end July, during their breeding season, before heading back out to sea. They can be seen lined up on the ledges of caves carved out during the Cornish Mining era of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Razerbilll on the cave ledge, St Agnes coastline
The oyster catchers are a permanent resident along the St Agnes Coastline clustering on the rocks. Their bright orange beaks and black and white feathers are stunning sight to see – they are quite noisy too and so you usually hear them before you seen them! Interestingly despite being called Oyster Catchers they actually live off mussels and cockles found on the coast.
Oyster catchers, St Agnes Coastline, Cornwall
These are just some of the amazing animals that can be seen on our St Agnes Coastline in Spring. To join our Koru Adventures simply contact us.
Gift Vouchers are available too and make for a unforgettable present!
French blogger, Adeline Grassin of Voyagesetc.fr, was interviewed by France 2 whilst on the Kayak Adventure. They interviewed about the power of blogging and how blogs make a great research tool for travelling and holidays.
Have you been riveted by the recent series re-enacting Captain Bligh’s Mutiny on the Bounty, entitled ‘Mutiny‘ on Channel 4? We have! Especially with his connections to Cornwall and the Helford.
Mutiny, Channel 4
Captain Bligh, a Naval Officer, whose ship was taken over by its crew leaving him cast off into the sea. Although registered as being born in Plymouth, Devon, his ancestral home is Tinten Manor in St Tudy, nr Bodmin, Cornwall.
After travelling around the world his Admiralty stationed him on the Helford in 1803 to assess its defenses during the Napoleonic War. However, it seems luck was not on his side again, after over zealous local constabulary arrested him thinking he was a spy!
One of the potential defenses being assessed by Helford Village, Cornwall
The Captain was not best pleased at being taken under arrest to the Vicarage in Manacan, just above Gillan Creek. He refused to reveal his identity to both the local constabulary and magistrate and so was locked away in an outhouse.
Eventually they released him and he was left in the Vicarage parlour with the Reverend Polwhele. The Reverend reports in Traditions and Recollections vol 11
“But a moment’s conversation with Captain Bligh discovered all the gentleman. In an act of duty he had been roughly treated and he resented it. But, his anger evaporating, he even joined me in commending the loyal zeal of my parishioners – the woodcocks were produced for supper, and a variety of wines such as there were; and it was two o’clock in the morning before we parted, I may say mutually pleased
It is amazing to think that just 200 years ago in 1803 Captain Bligh was cruising along the Helford River and it’s creeks, as we follow in his footsteps on our Koru Kayak Adventures – hopefully never to be arrested for being spies!
Kayaking along the Helford in Captain Bligh’s footsteps
Further interest is Captain Bligh: Man, Myth, Mutiny at The Maritime Museum,Falmouth 17 March 2017 – 7 January 2018 where you can see a replica Bounty ship and the coconut cup that Captain Bligh used on his fateful journey.
The evening started with welcome drinks and we were treated to a fascinating talk by Matthew Thomson, CEO, Fifteen Cornwall who also presented the awards.
Tom and Hetty Wildblood, Koru Kayaking being presented Best Business by Matthew Thomson, CEO Fifteen Cornwall
Judges Kathy Morris, Chair of St Agnes Chamber of Commerce, Cllr Pete Mitchell and Toby Parkins, Chair of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce interviewed, reviewed entries and some categories were mystery shopped.
There were 6 awards Best Business, Best Customer Service, Best Digital Presence, Most Sustainable and People’s Choice.
Tom and Hetty Wildblood, Koru Kayaking being presented Gold for Best Customer Service by Matthew Thomson, CEO, Fifteen Cornwall
Koru Kayaking were delighted to also receive Silver Awards for both Best Digital Presence and Most Sustainable Business.
St Agnes is a fantastic place to have a business and the awards highlighted the diversity of businesses we have here in such a thriving community.
Looking forward to seeing the video of the evening, by ex BBC Producer Charlie Fripp of Fieldgrazer. We will share it when it is published!
Thanks to Conan Coatsworth for the photos. It is amazing the diversity of businesses here as Menu Cards were printed by local printer Mandy Kimmins of Printout, the awards supported in the local newspaper the must read the Bolster. Glittering table decor by fellow award winner Anna Trethewy Sawle of Wedding Flowers in Cornwall, top music and disco by DJ James Penny and the lights and rostrum from St Agnes Players. A real community event celebrating award winning businesses in our Parish!
The event highlights businesses working sustainability with the environment and included Cornish businesses who work locally and internationally.
Koru Kayaking pride ourselves are being an educator in sustainabilty and are a sustainable business. Koru use high quality equipment which lasts, are a ‘turn on the tap‘ company – initiative from Surfers Again Sewage and St Austell Brewery called Clean Cornwall asking people to refill water bottles, which we for all our customers.
Koru are Cultural and Cornish Mining Ambassadors, business supporters of Cornwall Wildlife Trust and love sharing information about the environment and sustainability in a fun yet informative way with you on our stunning guided kayak adventures.
It was inspiring to be surrounded by such a diverse group of businesses all wanting to be as sustainable as they can, the National Trust and Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
So if you fancy a buying someone a sustainable Christmas Present this year check out out online shop for Koru Gift Vouchers and Koru Gift Bags packed with adventure!
30 November – 5-9pm – Truro Late night shopping outside Waterstones, Santa fun fun run too! Lovely festive feel with Christmas lights and the Cathedral open!
Truro Late night shopping
7 Dec – 5-9pm –Truro Late night shopping outside Waterstones. Lovely festive feel with Christmas lights and the Cathedral open!
9 Dec – 5.30pm – 8.30pm St Agnes Christmas Late Night Shopping:
Miners and Mechanics Christmas Market, St Agnes
There are activities happening throughout the village – the reindeer parade is around 5.30pm from the doctors surgery to outside the St Agnes Hotel & the Church, Father Christmas and stalls in the Church Hall, Carols with the brass band around the Christmas Tree and in the Church. Shops open throughout the village. Koru Kayaking have a stand in the Miners and Mechanics Christmas Market. Parking available in the Library carpark.
10 Dec – 10am – 4pm – Bike Chain Bissoe Bike Trail Christmas Market – pre Christmas sale of bikes and accessories, market stalls (including Koru Kayaking) in fully covered area with local traders and crafts people, childrens disco, games and craft activities, face painting, festive food and drinks available from the newly licensed cafe
Indoor Christmas Markets in St Agnes and Bissoe Bike Trail
11th Dec – 10am – 4pm – Bike Chain Bissoe Bike Trail Christmas Market – pre Christmas sale of bikes and accessories, market stalls (including Koru Kayaking) in fully covered area with local traders and crafts people, childrens disco, games and craft activities, face painting, festive food and drinks available from the newly licensed cafe
14 Dec – 5-9pm Truro Late night shopping outside Waterstones
Outdoor Christmas Markets in Truro and Perranporth
18 Dec – 10am – 8pm – Perraporth Christmas Market – Activities happening throughout the day including live music, santa, reindeers and for the first time there is an open air market. We have stand in the main high street in the open air market.
21 Dec – 5 – 9pm Truro Late night shopping outside Waterstones.
Hope to see you at some if not all of them!
Koru’s online shop is open all the time and we will post out by first class post! FREE postage and packing on all products.
One blustery November day we sent Hetty to explore St Just and Botallack, with the iconic Poldark mine – known was Wheal Leisure (series 1) or Wheal Grace (series 2) with Cornwall365. Would Poldark be there?
Well we had to wait to find out….
The Tin Mining tour started in St Just Methodist Chapel, hearing about the newly formed Tin Coast Partnership linking the National Trust and businesses together to promote the area – a bustling town with shops, pubs, hotels, and art galleries (more on that later)!
St Just Methodist Chapel, St Just, Cornwall
The Methodist Chapel in the 1800s and early 1900s was bursting with a congregation of miners and their families, who would spend their one day off attending the chapel for one, sometimes two services.
The Chapel was built with fantastic acoustics so that all could hear and in recent times has been used by Male Voice Choirs.
Artwork on the ceilings of St Just Methodist Chapel, Cornwall
The ceilings were decorated with intricate artwork. The Chapel is an incredible building, which reminded me of the chapels we visited in Port Arthur prison, Tasmania, Australia where prisoners only day off from hard labour was a Sunday, which would be spent attending church. In the same way miners work was hard labour 6 days a week with only a few mines recognising Bank Holidays and Christmas Day as unpaid days off.
Yet the miners left a legacy, some mines like Geevor Tin Mine only closing in the 1980s! Their toils made the mine owners wealthy and built up towns like St Just and St Agnes with strong communities which are still thriving today.
One of the most surprising finds in St Just is Jackson Foundation Art Gallery. A converted warehouse which houses well known artist Kurt Jackson’s paintings and I was transported to a very modern St Just and a world class art gallery.
Kurt Jackson, Jackson Foundation, St Just, Cornwall
His paintings in this exhibition are all of the sea and surfers. See below – can you spot the surfer? There is also a video of the artist at work and he has quite a unique style of painting with his canvas on the shoreline!
Kurt Jackson painting, Jackson Foundation, St Just, Cornwall
Kurt donates the top floor of his gallery to charities and it was quite apt that this exhibition had a Surfers Against Sewage exhibition, exhibiting artifacts retrieved from the sea.
Artifacts washed up on our shores and retrieved by Surfers Against Sewage
Crisp packets from the 1970s
Among the items washed up was a crisp packet from the 1970s! Oh and Julie they found your debit card!
Debit card washed up by the sea, Surfers Against Sewage, Jackson Foundation Exhibition, St Just
Inspired by classical art in the chapel and modern art in the gallery we headed off to Botallack Tim Mine to enjoy nature’s art!
View along the coastline, Botallack Mine, Cornwall
Welcomed by this fantastic view of the sea and our stunning Cornish coastline!
Botallack Mine sits by Geevor and Levant Mines and in it’s heyday employed 500 people. There were success stories where local men ended up with mansions, in fact Botallack was owned by a local man, but for many it was a hard life. Men, women and children, some as young as 8 years old, working 6 days a week in all weathers throughout the year. Botallack was a mine which had mine shafts under the sea.
Mine to under the sea, Botallack Mine, Cornwall – Poldarks Mine
The now iconic BBC1’s drama Poldark buildings, which were Wheal Leisure (series 1) and Wheal Grace (series 2) were the mines which transported miners down to the sea bed to mine out the tin.
Miners tunnel, Botallack, Cornwall
The miners would enter tunnels branching off caves working upto 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.
Cave with miners tunnels branching off, Botallack, Cornwall
The tin rich rocks would be sorted by the women and children, broken down into smaller pieces and silted in the open air in all weathers.
Mine works, Botallack, Cornwall
Pictured below, the remnants of a large feast hall where workers fuelled with food ready for the next shift, which today offered a nice rest-bite from the strong onshore winds!
Feast Hall, Botallack, Cornwall
After silting, the rock was heated to 500 degrees to extract the profitable arsenic. Arsenic was shipped to America and used to whiten faces, taken in moderation as a stimulant and as a poison. Users could build up a tolerance, but it’s use could make make men sterile and also was corrosive to the skin.
When used as a poison a tolerant person could be eating the same arsenic laced meal as another non tolerant person and the effect could be deadly on the person with no tolerance – hence a poison.
Arsenic processing, Botallack, Cornwall
Cornwall was also a hot spot for Cornish Gold! Here a replica found in the mining cave. Many of the rivers in Cornwall are said to be rich in gold deposits.
Thought we had struck Gold, Botallack, Cornwall
And looking across the fields there are Geevor and Levant Mine…we will go and discover these another day!
October is a fantastic month to see wildlife on the Helford River and it’s creeks. With sunny days and deep blue skies the leaves are starting to turn and fall.
It is a great time to spot kingfishers who seem to be prolific this month with most sightings on Frenchman’s Creek and Polwheveral Creek. The kingfishers fly along the river banks under the ancient oak tree branches and along the creeks.
The Little Egret is a common sighting on the Helford River and creeks. However, this month they are more spread out, rather than all huddling up on Polwheveral Creek or Frenchman’s Creek individuals and couples are being sighted on all the creeks including Port Navas Creek.
The Little Egret is not a native bird, but they have a big colony on the Helford. Almost made extinct in the 1800s by the Victorians and their like of their feathers for their hats, they are now plentiful. Their bright white wings make them look like lanterns in the ancient oak tree branches.
Buzzards a commonly sighted soaring about the Helford River and it’s creeks. It is an amazing sight seeing them soar with their wings spread out in a V shape, with dark brown feathers. They live off small mammals, birds and carrion. And we often see them squarking with crows – a real David Attenborough moment!
The grey heron is a resident on the Helford River and creeks. With it’s bulky wide wings it looks like a dinosaur when it flies and wise vulture when perched up in the ancient oak tree branches on Frenchman’s and Polwheveral Creek.
The mute swan, which is the white swan most commonly seen in the British Isles, and the species we see on the Helford River and creeks, will normally mate at anytime from spring through to summer, with the cygnets being born anytime from May through to July. So it was a surprise to see two cygnets recently on Polwheveral Creek!