National Character Area 152

Cornish Killas - Detailed Statements of Environmental Opportunity

This section expands on the Headline Statements of Environmental Opportunity and provides further detail on each of the Statements of Environmental Opportunity.


SEO 1: Manage, restore, link and enhance the area’s rich mosaic of wildlife habitats, expanding their quality, extent and range where appropriate. This needs to be achieved alongside sustainable agricultural practices, which contribute to soil and water quality as well as providing habitat management. This benefits the local economy, minimises soil erosion and flooding and provides increased recreational opportunities.

For example by:

  • Continuing to manage areas of lowland and coastal heath and realising opportunities to extend and re-connect fragmented sites.
  • Reinstating or creating areas of herb-rich unimproved grasslands to re-connect habitats, particularly in areas where water infiltration can be improved, soil erosion prevented and nutrient leaching reduced.
  • Maintaining and creating low-input grassland, integrated into arable areas, with interlinking grassland buffer strips and grass verges running across slopes in areas suffering from soil erosion and nutrient run-off.
  • Restoring hedgebanks, especially where they help to impede cross- land flows, reduce soil erosion and agricultural run-off and enhance water infiltration, to prevent flooding. Such hedgebanks should maintain or reinstate historic field patterns, particularly in proximity to villages and hamlets.
  • Creating and enhancing a diverse network of wetlands on valley slopes and bottoms (reedbeds, marshes, willow and alder carr, valley mire and wet meadows), contributing to the storage of floodwaters, reducing flooding downstream and filtering polluted waters.
  • Positively managing semi-natural woodlands lining the estuary and ria slopes (including the Fowey, Fal and Helford rias); encouraging natural regeneration to re-connect fragmented sites; reinstating coppice management; and undertaking new planting to link fragmented sites. Such measures will increase adaptation to climate change; increase water infiltration and water storage, thereby reducing flood risk; stabilise soils and reduce nutrient run-off; and increase carbon sequestration and storage.
  • Coppicing woodlands where possible and appropriate, and planting standard trees throughout the farmed environment to provide a sustainable, local source of wood fuel.
  • Identifying opportunities and mechanisms for and promoting working with coastal processes to provide a coast protection function.


SEO 2: Conserve, manage and increase understanding of the area’s rich historic environment and its valuable interlinked geological and cultural heritage – including the mining legacy, the prehistoric and later settlements and ritual remains, and the unique Cornish hedges and field patterns – which combine to bring a unique historical and cultural identity to Cornwall.

For example by:

  • Introducing extensive grazing regimes and scrub removal where current land cover threatens the integrity of important earthworks and remains such as barrows, cairns, cliff-top castles and earthworks, and remnants of past tin and copper mining, particularly where they form part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.
  • Continuing to manage built features relating to past mining activity, such as engine houses, and remains such as spoil heaps, shafts, surface extraction pits, leats and tramways, particularly within the World Heritage Site.
  • Identifying and maintaining surviving early patterns of enclosure and field boundaries, notably the Cornish hedgebanks that support rich and important assemblages of flora. Ensure the use of local stone and facing styles in Cornish hedgebanks to maintain local character, and the retention of stone stiles on pathways.
  • Supporting and assisting the World Heritage Site committee in giving effect to the operative Management Plan and delivering agreed priorities in support of the site’s Outstanding Universal Value, as is required of the Government by treaty.
  • Promoting the heritage value of historic mineral extraction sites, spoil heaps, mining heritage and residual re-colonisation that benefits biodiversity, in particular as part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.
  • Conserving and interpreting archaeological earthworks and sub-surface archaeology, while recognising the potential for undiscovered remains, informed by understanding of historic landscape character.
  • Protecting and increasing understanding of the cultural and biodiversity importance of the ancient field systems and Cornish hedgebanks and how, with other forms of interconnected habitats, they reflect millennia of change and create biodiversity stepping stones and corridors.
  • Conserving, restoring and managing historic parklands, which support rich invertebrate, lichen and bryophyte populations. Encourage tree planting that is sympathetic to the historic parkland plan (including the replacement of exotic specimens), reinstate traditional management techniques of pollarding and pruning, and sympathetically manage standing ancient and veteran trees. Conserve parkland structures and rides.
  • Providing information and interpretative material to ensure that public access respects the presence of archaeological features, particularly where located on open access land or common land or in close proximity to the South West Coast Path.
  • Improving the visibility of rock exposures in both redundant and active quarries and providing interpretation to improve understanding of both geodiversity and the extractive industries – past and present.
  • Ensuring that the sense of tranquillity is maintained by encouraging only appropriate levels of development in appropriate locations and ensuring that the traditional character of the small, historic fishing and farming settlements and mining villages is retained through use of local building materials and styles.
  • Maintaining and enhancing the distinctive settlement pattern of market towns, small villages and dispersed settlements and their diverse architectural styles, ensuring that future development recognises and retains the value of the area’s biodiversity, access and heritage and contributes positively to its character.
  • Encouraging the use of local products – for example locally caught edible crabs and rare-breed beef from the heathland – within suitable businesses, for example pubs, restaurants and tourist markets, and ensuring that links are made to the landscape from which the product is sourced.


SEO 3: Sustainably manage the visitor pressure associated with this distinctive landscape to ensure that the numerous recreational opportunities, such as the South West Coast Path and high-quality beaches, continue to be enjoyed sustainably by the local community and visitors. Develop volunteering opportunities both for local residents and for visitors, and endeavour to better connect people with places and natural assets.

For example by:

  • Sustainably managing the area’s visitor and tourist industry to maintain, conserve and interpret the existing high-quality landscape and the historic and wildlife assets while ensuring that the local community and economy can continue to enjoy and benefit from this unique and heavily used recreational landscape.
  • Promoting access to the natural and historic environment across the area, particularly incorporating sustainable access to the South West Coast Path and continued careful management of the National Trail itself. This needs to accommodate growth in visitor numbers while retaining the tranquillity and inspirational qualities of the area.
  • Managing the visitor pressure at the various locations that are distinctive and widely recognised landmarks, and which bring high visitor numbers to the area.
  • Conserving the cultural heritage, coastal views and undisturbed character of sections of the coastline to ensure that public enjoyment continues, while also ensuring that visitor pressure does not have a negative impact on the character.
  • Providing guidance and interpretation to improve public understanding and to reduce damage to features as a result of recreational uses (including rock climbing and coasteering).
  • Maintaining an undeveloped coastline where appropriate, allowing natural coastal processes to operate unimpeded.
  • Considering the cumulative impacts of development and land use change on the landscape. It is important that any proposals do not have a detrimental impact on the local character and tranquillity.
  • Focusing the development of new, or enhancement of existing, recreational facilities and tourist sites in compatible locations, maintaining the mix of ‘passive’ and ‘active’ leisure and recreational opportunities.
  • Exploring working with partners and organisations that support volunteering in the natural environment to provide opportunities for people to increase their knowledge and understanding of biodiversity while benefiting habitats and species.

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