November 1997                           110


The Scillonian landscape attracts a great deal of attention, for its outstanding beauty and the unspoilt nature of its open spaces and uninhabited islands.  However, nature cannot be left entirely unaided if what is generated is to fit the needs of the humans who use and enjoy the countryside, as well as protecting the flora and fauna that has made Scilly so unique.  Most open spaces respond to being used and this includes both humans and grazing animals.  The Environmental Trust has a policy of free access to all its leased land and positively encourages visitors to enjoy the open spaces and coast.  One problem we experience is the way that walkers insist upon walking in single file, wearing a groove in the centre of a path.  We would ask people to spread out, and help keep paths wider and healthier.

The recent easterly winds have brought in more polyester film, but the quantity coming ashore does seem to be getting less.  It is hoped that up to two hundred quarter ton rolls will be recovered before Christmas.  This will leave some one hundred and forty not found and it has to be expected that these remaining rolls will all be broken up during the winter months.  The owners of the Cita have not been inclined to accept responsibility for the pollution and damage caused by the film and it is unlikely that compensation will be achieved without a huge fight.  Whatever happened to the political aim that the 'polluter pays'?  We will have to expect that the film will continue to land on our beaches for several years.

The new extension to the Lower Moors path at Rose Hill achieved good publicity when a secretive American bird spent several days at the site.  It was only the fifth time that the Common Yellowthroat had been seen in the UK and the second such visit to Scilly.  Given the right wind conditions, it would be possible for an American bird to cross the Atlantic in around forty eight hours.  The Trust has had several complaints about the strong springs used on the Lower Moors gates, and in view of this, different catches will be fitted to make them easier to use.
Even if the summer proved to be wetter than expected, the sea temperature proved to be warmer than an average season.  It was probably the warm conditions that resulted in a number of late sightings of Sunfish and there were also several small Portuguese-men-of -war found.  The unexpected rainfall also affected the Trust's management work, and planned improvements to both Porthloo Pool and Argy Moor Pool had to be held over until next year.  We hope to dig out the pools, improve the banks and provide sluices to enable us to control the water better in dry conditions.

The Support Group are planning to undertake a number of projects during the winter months and would welcome extra assistance.  The meetings are relatively short and can be very enjoyable and satisfying.  Anyone who can spare some time will be most welcome to join in with the activity.  There will be regular jaunts to Porth Hellick to attack the polyester film and black bags are being left at each end of the beach for individuals who wish to help
with this.

Andrew Gibson

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