All the latest news can be found on the Current News page
Resullt!! Cornwall Council Councillors have, this afternoon, voted to support the motion for a balloon and sky lantern release ban on land in their ownership & control. This is a major step forward in protecting our wildlife and environment. many thanks to all who have helped support this campaign - now we need to carry on working with Marine Conservation Society Surfers Against Sewage Balloons Blow to try and influence more areas to make the same decision.
Doug Scrafton our Cornwall Council County Councillor has today made some important news avalable regarding the children's play area on the beach.
Please follow the link to his blog to see what he has to say on the subject.
Cornwall Council are considering the return of beach huts in the beach area. Jolyon Sharpe the Council's Countryside Officer outlined their thoughts at our recent AGM which are outlined in the AGM news item recently published.
The council is seeking the thoughts and opinions of the public before progressing this any further. A questionnaire has been drawn up and Friends of Par Beach have been asked to administer this by circulating around to anyone who has any views. Please fill in and return to us so we can collate and forward back to the Council.
There are two versions for you to use:
Click here for the PDF version for printing off and sending to our Chair, Richard Parks, details on the bottom of the form.
Click here for a Word version that you may be able to fill in on your computer and then e-mail to us at info@ parbeach.com (please remove the spaces after @, this is to prevent e-mail address harvesting software accessing our address)
Please share the questionnaire with any friends or relatives who might have an interest in this issue, especially those who do not use the internet.
If you have any questions or in the unlikely event that you have any difficulties with the forms please use the Contact Us page on the website.
More than 30 members attended a combination of a social event and the FoPB AGM on September 22nd. The business part of the AGM, when the Chair’s and Treasurer’s annual report were accepted by the meeting and the existing Officers and Committee Members were re-elected (see below for details), took only about 40 minutes and was followed by a presentation by James Gourlay, Operations Director, Park Leisure 2000 Ltd.
His announcement that the plan was to open the new cafe/restaurant at Easter 2016 was met by a murmur of approval. Whilst it had been a long time coming, the hard work undertaken by Park Leisure had culminated in what would be a wonderful addition to the facilities at Par Sands.
The ground floor, which would be a traditional cafe, will have 80 covers inside and 64 outside, whilst the Italian Restaurant on the upper floor would have 43 covers. James had been allowed on the building site and thought the views over the beach from the first floor were astounding.
The plans for the design of the building had to be reviewed when it was realised that the 2-ton pizza oven would required a strengthened floor!!
Also on the first floor will be a small ‘education’ room that will seat 10 and will have lots of information and a high tech information delivery through internet and TV. FoPB information will be included, and we hope to be able to liaise with Park Leisure when the time comes.
Park Leisure plan to employ 7 people, locally sourced, and a specialist Italian chef.
James made it clear that the cafe/bistro would be open to all, and that he hoped that local people as well as those staying on the Park Leisure site would be welcome, indeed would be essential to the success of the project. The bill was creeping towards the £1 million mark and the Company would hope to at least break even in the early years.
A short break to enjoy wine/tea/coffee and a finger buffet followed (thanks to Jules Jonklaas for organising, and Sonia Clyne, Penny Gibbs and Sandra Freemantle for serving and clearing up) then Jolyon Sharpe, Countryside Officer, Cornwall Council talked about the Council’s plans for beach huts on the site as well as water quality in the bay.
Despite some problems inland, bathing water quality was shown to be good and he was happy that standards were being kept. When questioned on recent reports in the press, he said that some information had been incorrect and misunderstood.
The plans for beach huts on Par Sands were very much in the early stages, and the opinion of locals and visitors was being sought through FoPB. If you have a view please complete the survey form that will soon be available on FoPB website via another news item.
When questioned on the lack of support from Cormac on maintenance of the site, particularly the ‘Access’ path, Jolyon said that Cornwall Council paid Cormac a (reducing) sum of money to carry out its contract. He would make some enquiries.
The last committee were re-elected and are again as follows:
Richard Parks: Chair
Jules Jonklaas: Secretary
Mike Freemantle: Treasurer
Phil Gadd: Events Co-ordinator
John Page: ICT (Website and Facebook Group page)
Please note: Jules stated at the AGM that this would be her last term as Secretary, therefore we will be looking for someone to take her place. If any members are interested in taking over her position (the 'duties' are not very onerous!) or just to join the committee, there is currently one vacancy, please contact one of the committee members or use the contact us page to get in touch.
About 30 people, adults, children and some interested dogs, came along to Friends of Par Beach annual bat walk with Carol Williams, a leading bat expert from the Cornwall Bat Group on the evening of Saturday 29th August, this event coincided with the annual International Bat Weekend. The weather behaved itself after some initial worries earlier in the week and turned out to be perfect conditions, more or less calm wind and relatively high humidity. This brings out more insects out which are the food for the feeding bats that use the Nature Reserve. A spectacular sunset added to the proceedings.
Carol gave a fascinating talk about the lives, habits and some of the difficulties that bats have in our modern world, she played recordings that she brought along of various different species of bats using their echo locating sounds that they use when hunting; each species has its own distinctive sound and helps to identify which bats are about.
Armed with bat detectors that Carol brought with her everyone set off for a walk around the area as the light began to fade where all present were treated to seeing and hearing Noctule, Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle, and Daubenton's Bats.The highest number of bats were seen and heard at the eastern end of the pond at the beach at the end of the walk.
We are pleased to announce that £18.77 in donations were collected for the Bat Aid Hospital in Threemilestone, Truro.
Click here to see photos taken at the start of the evening while there was still some light.
It is with great sadness that Friends of Par Beach has learned of the passing of Sid Cole after a short illness. Sid fully supported the work we do in his capacity as one of the leading ornithologists in the area. He led our last three winter bird walks on the Beach’s Local Nature Reserve and on the beach itself.
Over the last two years he gave his full support in our project with Tywardreath School in building bird boxes and putting them up around the Nature Reserve. Sid provided the design and Friends of Par Beach provided the raw materials, pre-cut and drilled for assembly. The next stage was for the pupils of the school to assemble the boxes and then assist us in putting them up. Thirteen boxes were placed around the site and we were delighted to report that twelve were used in the first year. Sid continued to monitor and maintain the boxes and made some modifications to each box to help with drainage and the second year was equally successful! Sid visited the pupils at the school to report back after the first year on which species of birds used the boxes, much to their delight.
At a personal level I got to know Sid over the last few years, going on bird watching walks in the area and visiting him at his home during this time. His knowledge and enthusiasm in things ornithological was astounding and he had a way of making it all so interesting. He was always willing to help and advise and will be greatly missed by us.
Friends of Par Beach would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his wife Francis, his family and friends. We are sure he will be missed by all.
FoPB Committee Member
Chair, Richard Parks and Committee Member, John Page, were very pleased to attend an 'Ocean Plastics Awareness Day' on behalf of Friends of Par Beach at Fistral Beach in Newquay today, at the invitation of Clean Cornwall.
The day was titled as a 'Proposal for Community Beach Engagement Day and Policy Reception', which was master minded by Surfers Against Sewage, and honoured by the participation of TRHs the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
Friends of Par Beach were and I quote from Jill Stott of Clean Cornwall “the first group that we thought of' when Clean Cornwall were asked to put a group together under the Clean Cornwall banner”.
The event consisted of two elements:
Part A, a vibrant 'Community Beach Festival' involving local and regional community groups and charities tackling marine litter at the beachfront and raising awareness to reduce the flow of litter to our seas. Local school children after a photo call with 'Rusty the Whale' made out of many hundreds of discarded plastics bottles, did a quick beach clean and then joined the festivities.
Part B consisted of a stakeholder meeting and reception with HRH Prince Charles, to discuss the opportunities to reduce common sources of litter found on Cornish beaches, prevent plastics from entering the marine environment and move towards a circular economy that better protects the marine environment.
Many other Community and Conservation groups were represented including the Marine Conservation Society with our own Dave Smethurst on board, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Rame Peninsula Beach Care, Friends of Portheras Cove, Lego Lost at Sea, Keep Britain Tidy, Fishing for Litter with Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG), World Animal Protection, Gweek Seal Sanctuary, SITA, Finisterre and GWR Polymers.
Both Royals spent a considerable amount of time visiting each group, being introduced to and shaking the hand of each individual group member and listening to their stories with great and very obviously genuine interest. After talking to us and the two ladies, Tracy representing Lego Lost at Sea and Delia from Friends of Portheras Cove, who we shared a gazebo with, Prince Charles left us with the words “heroic work”
One had the feeling that the whole local movement against beach litter, particularly plastics, was given a huge boost and added enthusiasm by the interest and attendance of such august visitors. It is well known that HRH Prince Charles has a long term interest in the environment, and more recently the issue of marine plastics, particularly on his own patch in Cornwall.
A very rewarding day and a big thank you to Jill of Clean Cornwall for inviting 'Friends' to participate with them.
We are obviously making a good impression in the right places and now Royal Circles!!
Please look in our Photo Gallery for pictures taken on the day, Richard and John can be seen modelling our new Friends of Par Beach polo shirts!
Friends of Par Beach have received this communication from Cefas via Par Community Association.......
Hydrographic dye tracing study in St Austell Bay, 15–18 June 2015
As part of a research project being carried out by Cefas to increase their understanding of the time of travel and areas of impact of treated effluent in the St Austell Bay - a fluorescent dye is being injected into a wastewater treatment works’ outfall next week, and its dispersion and dilution will be monitored.
The study will provide quantitative information on water movements in the St Austell Bay to water quality scientists from government agencies (Cefas and Environment Agency) and asset managers from South West Water. Data from the study will inform future discussions about the dispersion and dilution in the marine environment.
The dye being used - Rhodamine WT - is not harmful to the environment or recreational water users however the colour of the bathing water at Crinnis Leisure, Crinnis Golf or Carlyon Bay, Par Sands and Polkerris may be temporarily affected, depending on weather and wind conditions.
Carlos J. A. Campos Shellfish Water Quality Scientist
Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science
Friends of Par Beach along with other invited organisations participated in the recent Trenython Family Fun Weekend, which was part of the re-vamped Fowey Festival. Armed with our gazebo and a willing group of volunteers, we showcased what Friends is all about, and also had some fun games on hand to attract the children.
Gill Butler of Par Community Association brought along some paints, brushes and a supply of pebbles for some pebble art, which proved a great attraction, and we also had a giant jigsaw made from a picture of the beach and also another jigsaw for the younger children, which actually seemed to attract more adults!!
Over 600 people, mainly families, participated on the two days, more than double last year’s attendance, which was encouraging, and the weather stayed mercifully good throughout.
The weekend was a good opportunity to meet many locals and visitors to the area, to tell them about Par beach and what it has to offer.
To see some of the pictures taken over the weekend click here to have a look in the Events section of our gallery.
Have a look on our events page to see what we have coming up during the rest of this year. Other local groups' events that we are associated with have are shown and more may be added as we go along through the year.
The autumn/winter working party season has passed so quickly, and a lot of progress has been made. Led by Jan Phillips, our dedicated band of volunteers has tackled a wide variety of projects that are listed below.
We are very grateful to Jan for her work organising these working parties, and, of course, thanks go to all of the volunteers. We have attracted a number of new members to the team this winter and hope to see them all for the next session which will start in October.
All work on the Reserve is planned in advance with the Ranger, James Clapp, whose advice and help is much appreciated.
October - Clearing, summer growth and a fallen tree to open up the reed path near to the silt trap
November - Creating a glade amongst the small sycamores on the link path between the wetland causeway and the end of the avenue of mature conifers at the western end of the Reserve.
December - Planting 100 trees (10 species) kindly donated by Western Power. About half of the trees were planted to protect the perimeter of the Orchid Field, and the remainder on the grass area that links with the Par Green Path.
January - Completion of the tree planting and starting creation of a butterfly glade amongst the gorse.
February - Completion of butterfly glade, clearing up of previous clearance sites and bonfire
March - Clearing of a small patch of new growth of Sea Buckthorn and Rosa Rugosa near the burnt out hut, both of which are invasive species
To see pictures taken ar the work parties click here to see the photo galleries.
The sunshine and the prospect of a bonfire brought 15 FoPB volunteers to the dunes today including a couple of new faces and some people we haven't seen for a while.
After last month’s gorse bashing, there was a mountain of cut material to burn plus what was cut today. A nice new and big insect refuge has been cut into the gorse and all the material was burnt thanks to many hands processing it off the pile.
What is it about a good bonfire that gets people's interest and attention as today we had a near record turnout of friends, old friends returning, some new faces and many of the usual suspects along to continue the gorse clearance that we started last month and then to burn the evidence.
Under beautiful blue skies we achieved an excellent amount of work as part of to our managed maintenance of the Local Nature Reserve behind the beach. Encouraged and supervised by Jan Phillips who did her usual conscientious job of keeping us busy and safe, a good morning was had by all.
Strange psychology with bonfires. Normally when we finish our work on Sundays, the group breaks up and go their own way. Today most of the group hung around chatting round the fire. Maybe we were all scouts and guides in our dim and distant or is it an age old social instinct?
Many thanks to all those who came along and we look forward to seeing you again at the next work party on Sunday March 8th.
To see a couple of photos taken on the day click here.
Par Beach was recently visited by 'Victor' a Common Seal. Common seals, despite their name, are rare in Cornwall; the seals we usually see are grey seals. There is quite a story attached to this and Danny Cooper one of our local British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) Marine Mammal Medics had been undertaking some research and has produced a Press Release giving the whole story of Victor and his amazing journey together with some interesting facts. It is copied below with some photos and maps at the end of the release............
There is a series of photos in the Wildlife section on the Beach section of our Photo Gallery, click here to see them
Press Release Victor the Common Seal by Danny Cooper
Common Seals are not common in Cornwall, so it was a surprise for a walker to find a seal hauled out on Par beach on the 1st February. Rory Dimond took several photos and posted them on Facebook, the identification of the Common Seal with rounded cat like face was confirmed. Common Seals stand out from the Grey Seals found around Cornwall, part of the Celtic Sea population. As more people visited the beach in search of the seal more photos revealed a blue tag on the rear right flipper, the seal allowed close approach with some beach visitors not seeing the seal camouflaged among the rocks. Many dog walkers visit the beach each day and lots of dogs were interested in the seal, some walkers were concerned the seal was not in a safe place. British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) received a call to check on the seal and a Marine Mammal Medic Jeff Taylor and his son OJ went to the beach to investigate but the seal could not be found.
The next day the seal received lots of visitors and lots more pictures on Facebook, a return visit by Jeff and OJ managed to see the seal and an assessment was made that the seal was healthy. The seal spent most of the time in the mouth of the river Par swimming up and down the river and in the sea. The seal had been seen catching fish in the Par river mouth and had no signs of injury or illness, the only concern was the location at a beach with so many visitors. A message to try not to disturb the seal was posted on the Friends of Par Beach Facebook page, with people passing on the message on the beach.
On the 3rd February the seal was again well photographed and received more visitors, he was still attracting dogs’ attention with some dogs barking close to it causing the seal stress. Seals are inquisitive and can appear friendly, though seals could bite in self-defense and can carry infections that could be passed on to dogs (dogs could also pass infections on to the seal). At 2:45pm the seal was relocated by the Marine Mammal Medics from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue. BDMLR decided to relocate the seal from the beach as there were concerns about its safety regarding dogs, there had been reports of some dogs harassing the seal.
Once captured the tag number was recorded and the seal given the all clear by a vet, the seal was released at a quiet cove a few miles away near a known Grey Seal haul out. At his re-release he was quiet in the cage but became very interested when placed facing the sea. Rob Wells was lucky to observe the release and take some photos, he said “on release, he came out of the crate like a rocket and did not stop for photos but headed straight into the water”. Though not the same species Common and Grey Seals will interact and there are a couple of other Common Seals around at the moment. It is hoped they will meet and the other seal can show the released seal back to a colony of Common Seals.
A suggestion the writing on the tag “Ecomare” was from a sanctuary in Holland was confirmed with a search on the internet and the tag number recorded, a message with photos of the tag was sent. The response from Ecomare www.ecomare.nl came back as “you have met Victor.He was found as a pup on the beach of Julianadorp near Den Helder, Holland on 11th July 2014, with no mother around. After taking care of him for about 4 months, Ecomare released him on the 7th of November 2014 in the Wadden Sea from the north side of the island of Texel".
Victor has had an amazing journey of over 765km or 480 miles from Texel in Holland to Par in Cornwall. Not only is this distance outstanding but the journey was completed in only 85 days, Common Seals visit Cornwall in very small numbers with only fifteen sightings last year, Cornwall Seal Group monitors the Grey Seals around Cornwall using photograph identification as each seal has individual coat markings. With the population being closely monitored it is hoped Victor will be spotted again among the Grey Seals on his travels around Cornwall, if you think you have seen Victor email photos with the date and location to Sue Sayer on firstname.lastname@example.org as this can help track his movements. If you see a seals keep an eye out on the flippers as photos of a tag could help trace the seal as well as the fur patterns and scars. If another Common Seal is photographed it should be possible to tell if it is different from the one seen at Par.
Grey seals are a globally rare species numbering around 400,000 individuals and the UK holds a third to half the world’s grey seal population The Common Seal is more common in the North Sea and the is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species. This amazing journey shows the distance some seals go to visit our waters, trips to take tourists to see seals as a great source of income for some skippers in Cornwall. Seals from St Austell bay have been seen from Looe to the Lizard and further. Seals from the St Austell Bay have been identified at two Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) where seals are a designated feature – the Isles of Scilly and the Island of Skomer off the SW coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales. This is incredibly important as it now means that the seals in St Austell Bay carry functional linkage to these SACs, so are covered by the EU Habitats Directive legislation.
It is hoped that Victor may be spotted again, should you come across Victor or any other seal on the beach keep dogs on a lead and give the seal some space. If you find a seal that looks in trouble (as well as stranded Porpoise or Dolphin) please contact:
# Live stranded animals call BDMLR: 01825 765 546
# Dead seals, porpoise and dolphins call Cornwall Wildlife Trust Marine Stranding Network: 0345 201 2626
Map of where Victor was released on 7th November (curtesy Greet Ham)
Map of Victor's Journey to Par Beach (curtesy Greet Ham)
One of Rory Dimond's photos of Victor
Photo by Lee Slaughter of Victor hauled up on the sand
Another by Danny Cooper (Victor's blue tag can be seen on his rear flippers)
Victor on his release a few miles further around the coast
This winter we have planted 100 native trees and shrubs donated by Western Power Ltd. through The Silvanus Trust, a Cornish woodland charity.
The species include crab apple, field maple, bird cherry, hornbeam, dogwood, willow, whitebeam, downy birch , hawthorn and blackthorn.
A variety of whitebeam (possibly Swedish) already line the rear of the holiday park and are reasonably tough in the face of salt laden winds. Downy birch is our western species of silver birch, but not often planted as a more relevant species to the west of the UK.
Hornbeam is easily confused with beech (a non-native) and field maple are our only native maple.
The whitebeam, hornbeam and willow have been planted around the edge of the main orchid meadow, partly to replace the non native white poplar and partly in the hope of discouraging parking and reversing onto the meadow thus protecting the orchids.
The other species have been placed in an area of fertile grassland next to the wood and which used to be overrun with brambles. Due to the fertility here, it will never make a floristically rich meadow.
The trees and shrubs will add flower and fruit to the area and good for insects therefore also making a good food source for other animals that eat insects. They will also form a source of seed to colonise the scrubby woodland which is limited in species, some of which are non native.
The plants have been wrapped in anti rabbit guards and surrounded by mulch mats to keep moisture in and weeds out, and it would be appreciated that if you see the guards pulled off, that you would please wrap them again otherwise our plants won't stand a chance.
Meanwhile, we humans will enjoy the flower and fruit and be able to harvest a few for ourselves in the long term. Sloe gin and crab apple jelly circa 2025 anyone?
Thanks to Jan Phillips who led the planting events for the words above.
To see pictures taken during the planting click on the photo below...
Par Bay Big Local is very pleased to announce that they have taken over ownership of Cornubia Hall on Eastcliffe Road in Par, the premises previously occupied by Bonhams, the auctioneers.
Par Bay Big Local (PBBL) came into being over two years ago, and was one of the first community groups that was formed under the Big Local Initiative, set up by the present government to help distribute Lottery Money. The idea was that the group would work with local community groups, start-up businesses and anyone else that needed to raise money to help them on their way, within the Par, St Blazey and Tywardreath area. A series of bidding days was held in the local community, with the winners being able to obtain up to £1,000.00 pounds towards their project.
Friends of Par Beach ourselves have been successful on two occasions, winning funds to purchase and install more seats around the Par Beach Local Nature Reserve, and also to purchase a new Gazebo to be used during some of our functions at the beach and also for loan to other local groups when needed. This idea has now moved on with bids of up to £10,000.00 being accepted for larger projects. Just over a year ago, Par Bay Big Local took over the lease of a shop next to Alexander Hall and the St Blazey Co-op, to act as headquarters and also to advertise all the initiatives that local groups were involved in, and also to act as a drop in centre for any group or individual who wanted to talk with the Big Local. The shop also acted as a surgery location for our Local Councillors and our local Community Police Liaison Officers.
A search was then started to obtain a permanent and larger premises that could be converted into a Community Hub, to have a drop in centre, coffee shop, office space for helping start-up businesses, facilities for groups such as dance and theatre, art and craft groups and many others. The Bonhams building or Cornubia Hall as it was originally known, and almost certainly will be called again, became available at the right time and the right price, and in a little over a year and with much hard work by some of the members of Par Bay Big Local committee, the keys were handed over on Wednesday of this week.
Now the hard work really begins as the building has deteriorated whilst being empty for two and a half years and much needs to be done to bring it up to the standard and design required for a creative and successful Community Hub.
Look out for more information along the way, and the Par Bay Big Local will value any input or ideas about how this whole project can move forward on behalf of the residents of Par, St Blazey and Tywardreath.
For further information and current news for PBBL follow the links to the website and Facebook Page