The Isles of Scilly Environmental Trust

Bracken Bruiser – Early in June, the Trust took possession of a "Bracken Bruiser", to help in the fight against this ever-increasing and strengthening fern which threatens to take over the Islands to the detriment of all other species. The Bruiser, drawn from the back of an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) rolls the bracken, bruising its stem in several places. If the fronds are cut short, the plant merely sends up another shoot stronger than the first but when bruised, the end result is that the underground rhizome continues to use up energy on a damaged structure, thus weakening the plant considerably and eventually killing it. Successive seasons of bruising should exhaust the plant completely, allowing other species to flourish. The Trust Conservation Warden has been experimenting with different rolling techniques by adjusting the speed over the ground, and the number of rolls, and has been working in several areas which have previously been cut. He is careful to roll around plants found in the middle of the bracken, and in the case of the Wild Angelica on Porth Hellick Bank, bracken is pulled, or crushed manually to preserve this handsome plant.

Footpaths – At this time of year, nearly all footpaths are becoming overgrown and the Trust is hard pressed to keep up with cutting them back. Some paths, such as the Nature Trails need several cuts during the season in order to keep them clear for walkers to enjoy. The recent wet weather has accelerated growth, making the vegetation "fall in", but strenuous efforts are being made to keep paths open so that everyone can move freely about the Islands. The Trust would appreciate any help in identifying paths which need attention, and which can then be dealt with.

Snorkelling – Our snorkelling project is once again in progress, weather permitting. Trips take place several times a week from the Trust Office at Carn Thomas, where all equipment is provided. Interesting areas to visit include Pelistry Bay, Old Town Beach, and around Taylor’s Island off Porthlow where it is possible to see such creatures as Beadlet Anemones, Rock Gobies and Velvet Swimming Crabs to mention just a few. Trips last between two and three hours, with approximately an hour spent in the water, and are an experience not to be missed. Weather conditions must be good, and you need to check with us on the actual day of the trip which is advertised outside the Trust Office. If windy conditions prevail, the sand may be churned up making visibility below the surface of the water poor. All information is available on request at the office.

School Activity Week – A group of young people have been helping the Trust for a two and a half days during their School Activity Week. The group was split into two on the first day, with some people going to Samson, where the remains of the old stile at the entrance to the former deer park was carried down the hill, and burnt on the beach. (This was rickety and dangerous, and a new stile will be erected in its place). The other group were helping to make bat boxes for the Trust Conservation Warden to place at certain locations on St. Mary’s. The next day, the groups swapped places, with the second having a chance to work on an off-island. Other sterling work included the replacing of bridges on the Lower Moors. These have taken the form of a boardwalk and have been widened to make access easier. The Trust is very grateful to the Isles of Scilly School Group for all their hard work.

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