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Clumps of cattle hair on one of the stones in the Tregeseal stone circle, Cornwall
Image credit Ian Cooke

For the second time longhorn cattle introduced as part of a Higher Level Stewardship conservation grazing scheme onto Carnyorth Common near St Just have destabilised a stone of the ancient Tregeseal Circle – two years ago some 4 or 5 stones were loosened – after only a week or so being back on the Common after their winter ‘break’. Clumps of cattle hair on many stones show that they are using them as rubbing posts. It is only a matter of time before this herd of about 16 animals create more havoc.

That this has happened shows our concerns, relayed to Natural England several years ago, are fully justified that the presence of these animals will not only damage this important archaeological site but, as has been witnessed by local regular walkers of this moor, has also caused a dramatic drop in the number of walkers and horse riders over the past two years.

Save Penwith Moors consider the current Higher Level Stewardship agreement covering this Common – declared in a Natural England document of 2007 to be in “good” condition –

· is an unnecessary and very expensive waste of public money (about £20,000 a year for 10 years) in an era of drastic public spending cuts;

· a ruin of the moor through visually intrusive new barbed wire fencing, gates and a cattle grid;

· intimidating and potentially dangerous presence of free-roaming cattle that can – and do – frequently graze on the north-eastern part of the Common for which there is no known ownership and is not part of the area for which HLS payment is currently being made, and where two new gates were installed under the Natural England HEATH project under very dubious legal circumstances.

It is high time that this scheme for Carnyorth Common is abandoned and all the new (and old mid-1980s) stock proofing removed. Most of these issues are now being assessed by the Parliamentary Ombudsman as part of a complaint of alleged maladministration by the Natural England HEATH project and Higher Level Stewardship agreement.


Carnyorth Common, Cornwall
Image credit Ian Cooke

Carnyorth Common (St Just), not grazed for about 50 years but declared in a recent Higher Level Stewardship report to be in “good condition”. Yet cattle have still been put there to graze at some £20,000 per annum. Why?

19th March 2011. Press Release by:

Ian McNeil Cooke (Co-ordinator)
Men-an-Tol Studio
Cornwall TR20 8NR

Tel: 01736-368282 Email:


March 2011

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