Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Nine intrepid conservationists got on all-fours last Thursday (17th March) to remove a pernicious invader from Portreath’s New Walk. The three-cornered leek had invaded the path, ousting a very rare neighbour – Deptford pink – from its natural habitat. Deptford pink - so called due to a seventeenth century muddle in which it was mistaken for a related species that grew in Deptford, London – has suffered a massive 90% decline. It is now known only from only 30 localities in the Britain. The leek in question – Allium triquetrum – originated from the Mediterranean, being brought to these shores for cultivation in 1759. It has since naturalised, sometimes becoming a nuisance in south-west England, forming dense stands to the exclusion of native wildflowers.

Working with the Parish Council and English Nature, Plantlife International and Duchy College joined forces to tackle the problem at Portreath where it has also declined in recent years. The surface of the path was dug by hand – removing bulbs of the leek and coarse grasses. Tim Wilkins of Plantlife said, “The underlying cause of the invasion isn’t known but Deptford pink tends to grow on low nutrient soils whereas three-cornered leek seems to flourish on enriched soils. Dog fouling could be altering the soil conditions and accelerating the leek’s colonisation of ‘New Walk’. Local dog owners can do their bit to help protect this wonderful and very rare plant by using the poop-scoop bin provided.” It is hoped that Deptford pink will respond well to the clearance and put on a spectacular show of flowers in two years time.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Wesley & Volunteers

Friday, March 04, 2005


Change of mind by BT blamed for loss of broadband firm and 14 jobs Julian Ridge reports

Fourteen high tech jobs have been lost and 150 internet users left stranded following the demise of a company providing wireless broadband to Portreath.

1st Broadband SW was set up to provide broadband access to the internet for people living in communities where BT had no immediate plans to upgrade their local exchanges.

In 2000, BT made it clear that it had no intention of enabling its Portreath exchange for broadband until 2007.

So 1st Broadband took up the challenge and laid on the wireless service in the village and surrounding area.

But in 2004, BT changed its mind, and enabled the Portreath exchange.

After making a substantial investment in the network, 1st Broadband was faced with unexpected competition and has not survived, leading to the job losses.

Additionally, around 150 wireless subscribers have lost their broadband connection.

One of them is parish councillor Chris Watts, who was instrumental in getting the technology into the village in the first place.

He said: "When those of us in Portreath, Bridge and Cambrose invested in the equipment needed to receive wireless broadband we did so on the understanding that BT would not be enabling the Portreath exchange for several years.

"We now find that as soon as we get a stable wireless connection up and running, BT suddenly changes tactics and enables the Portreath exchange. What are we supposed to do with our broadband equipment?"

ActNow, the Objective One-funded company set up to accelerate the use of broadband in Cornwall, said it was sorry to see the problems being experienced by 1st Broadband.

It had offered subsidies to encourage businesses to use the 1st Broadband network, as it had to those using the BT service.

Emma Lydon, ActNow's marketing manager, said it was important that the wireless network survived, as it was still the only access that some users had to broadband.

She said: "We are in daily contact with the directors of the Concept Group, who own the 1st Broadband network, to try to support them and to find a way that the network can carry on.

"If it can't be owned by a business, then I think we will be looking at some kind of community ownership scheme."

E-mail: julianr@c-dm.co.uk


A student from Cornwall is planning to carry out an unusual crime spree when he travels across the United States of America and breaks weird local laws along the way.A STUDENT from Cornwall is planning to carry out an unusual crime spree when he travels across the United States of America and breaks weird local laws along the way.

Richard Smith, 23, of Portreath, near Redruth, will risk being arrested for falling asleep in a cheese factory in South Dakota, going whale-hunting in Utah and riding a bike in a swimming pool in California.

He intends to break about 40 strange state and town laws as he crosses America, starting from the notorious former prison island of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay.

His 18,000-mile journey across the continent will end in Hartford, Connecticut, where it is illegal to cross the road while walking on your hands.

Mr Smith, looking forward to his summer venture, said: "I am not one of those people who likes going away and sitting by a pool. I want a purpose, and this seemed perfect."

The inspiration for his crusade came while he was playing a board game with his 12-year-old neighbour on Christmas Day three years ago.

He said: "The game featured laws which were ludicrous and I thought they would be enjoyable to break for real."

One of the first to catch his eye was a law forbidding widows in Florida from going parachuting on Sundays.

He then spent hours researching America's odd legislation using the website and came up with his 40 favourites.

Mr Smith said that among the US laws he planned to break included ones which say it is illegal to:

Fall asleep in a cheese factory in South Dakota;

Play cards against a Native American in Globe, Arizona;

Drive around the town square in Oxford, Mississippi more than 100 times on a single occasion;

Say "oh boy" in Jonesborough, Georgia;

Play golf in the streets of Albany, New York;

Go whale hunting in Salt Lake City in landlocked Utah.

He says he is disappointed Virginia has just dropped a bill making it illegal to wear low-slung trousers exposing underwear.

Mr Smith, a journalism student at Cornwall College, Pool, plans to write a book about his exploits and he is hoping to interest a television company.

Asked if he was worried about running foul of the law and being deported, he said: "I think there's more chance I will get arrested for the way I break the laws than for breaking the laws themselves.

"Who knows, there might actually be a good reason for their existence - I am quite willing to find out."

He plans to set off in late July with his partner in crime, Luke Bateman, 20, from Redruth, and estimates the challenge will take him eight weeks.

Three years ago he and Luke visited Tallinn, Estonia, to sit in the town square and watch the Eurovision Song Contest.

Mr Smith is not the first Briton to pursue an eccentric quest.

In 2000 comedian Dave Gorman travelled the world in search of 54 namesakes.

Mr Smith plans to keep himself amused between now and July by climbing Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in a day.

He said: "Someone told me it was impossible to stand on the highest peaks of Wales, England and Scotland in the time that it takes the sun to rise and set and I wanted to prove him wrong."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Portreath Deptford Pink Conservation Day

Thursday March 17th 10am – 3pm

Meeting point : outside the Portreath Arms (grid ref: SW657453); street parking or car park on Lighthouse Hill.

What better way to greet the spring than to spend a few hours helping conserve one of Cornwall’s rarest and most attractive plants. Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity, have teamed up with Kerrier Conservation Crew to organise a conservation day to undertake practical conservation work at New Walk, Portreath. This is the second conservation day in as many years at this scenic Deptford pink site. Help Plantlife and the Kerrier Conservation Crew revitalise the habitat of this very special plant by digging out invasive grasses and cutting back encroaching scrub.

If you are the sort of person that enjoys lungfuls of fresh air and doesn't mind muddy trousers, then we really need your help – come along! The conservation day is open to everyone and no prior experience is needed as full guidance is given on the day. Children under the age of 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult.

If you are interested in attending it is recommended that you bring the following items with you:

  • old outdoor clothing appropriate to the weather
  • waterproofs
  • on a sunny spring day make sure you cover up and apply sun block
  • sturdy footwear
  • packed lunch & something to drink

Kerrier Conservation Crew will supply tools and gloves.

For further information please contact:

Tim Wilkins

01722 342746