Everyone expects to see plenty of wildlife, flora and fauna in Cornwall. But for people who decide to rent Cornwall holiday homes, things are even better. They don't even need to venture further than the garden to see nature at work. Lots of it.
Like almost everywhere else in Britain the urban-country balance has changed so much in the past few decades that our gardens, whether urban, suburban or in the country proper, are fast becoming life saving havens for birds. We're being advised not to keep our gardens too tidy, but leave room for insects and other creatures to make homes. Rotting wood, for instance, makes an attractive sculpture as well as home for all sorts of exciting many-legged creatures. And piles of leaves make good nesting materials for hedgehogs as well as eventually rotting down to make excellent compost.
The Cornish are a conservation minded lot and they're as keen as anyone to preserve their local wildlife and encourage it into their gardens. If you're lucky your self catering Cornwall holidays will include a garden full of the seaside classic Valerian, enjoyed by insects during the day and the startling hummingbird hawk moth at dusk. Which looks uncannily like a humming bird! The tough, resilient Buddleia is another butterfly favourite as well as encouraging loads of humming, buzzing bees. Spend time watching them with the kids and you'll notice countless different species.
It's great for children to learn what's what as far as insects are concerned. And a self catering holiday in Cornwall with outdoor space is a great place for them to explore the amazing world of mini-beasts for a change instead of losing themselves in gadgets and technology. Ant colonies make fascinating watching. As do the little, intricate lives of millipedes, centipedes and spiders. It’ll keep them busy while you set upo the barbecue on a balmy evening. And because Cornwall is one of the few places in the UK warm enough for lizards, you might spot them basking in the sun on your garden wall.
At dusk the garden will come alive with creatures of the night! Bats don't like too much wind but if your cottage is in a sheltered spot you might see them flitting to and fro over your head when the light dies down. When it's quiet enough you can even hear their tiny jaws snapping on insects. The kids might have fun setting up a moth trap and identifying what they catch.
Of course gulls provide a wonderfully evocative backdrop to most coastal towns and villages. It's part of the scenery. But it's probably best not to encourage them into the garden in case they end up being a pest. Other birds are easier to deal with. Tiny, elegant, fast-moving wagtails skitter around in the dust at the edge of driveways. The county's semi-exotic, lush greenery makes a great home for tiny birds like the once-common house sparrow, the dunnock and various brightly coloured finches. And if you're a real Twitcher you might even spot something exotic, blown off course by the unpredictable winds. All without stepping off your rented property!
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