ENVIRONMENT


North Hill parish flanks the eastern side of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. The geology is similar to other granite outcrops of South West England; the climate is warm and temperate with prevailing south westerly winds; the winds bring an abundance of rain.

These factors make for a generally comfortable, if frequently damp, weather pattern that can even be sub-tropical in western Cornwall. The plant growth is lush and the bordering seas are warm and abundant with life. The exposed upper moorlands are treeless expanses with short grass and occasional peaty marshes. There are times when the rainfall causes difficulties for the local residents.

From Venning’s Postal Directory of 1901

Daffodils on Kingbear Lane

4 April 2014 – Click on the image above to view a pdf file (1.4 mb) showing Kingbear Lane and the amazing variety of daffodils that flower along the lane. The daffodils had been planted some time previously by Jenny Doney who was then a resident on Botternell Farm, at the foot of the lane. Daffodils thrive in Cornwall's temperate climate.

The Blizzard in the West

This book is a record and story of the disastrous storm which raged throughout Devon and Cornwall, and West Somerset, on the night of March 9th, 1891. The report on the storm is fascinating. The impact on the Launceston / Liskeard area is on pages 106 to 108. There are also some wonderful advertisements in there. The whole book can be seen here.

The blizzard was also recorded in “The House by the Stream” by Bryan Latham, as follows:

“The squire of Trebartha Hall became concerned about the tenant farmer up on the moor at Colquite. On a bright morning when the sun shone again on a brilliant expanse of white, the trees laden with glittering snow and some broken down under the weight, he asked Harry [Landrey], then a stalwart young gamekeeper, to endeavour to make his way up the steep moor road then over the moor track to the farm. Harry related that he trudged up the moor road without undue difficulty, packed as it was with snow, to the tops of the boundary walls. But as he floundered through the deep snow on top of the moor he could see nothing the farm which lay under the hill. This hill was a landmark; he struggled up to it, and below he saw a single chimney-top sticking out of an enormous snow drift. Slithering down, Harry shouted down the chimney, ‘Are you alright?’ The farmer’s strong voice replied ‘Is that you Harry? – yes we’re all doing fine, only we can’t open the door or windows, we’re proper snowed up’. ‘And how about food?’ ‘Oh, we’ve got bacon, flour and groceries to last for another week, we won’t starve and we’re nice and warm’. Harry said the thaw came forty eight hours later and the farm emerged once more from its snow cocoon. But the losses in stock were terrible, and for years the moors were littered with skeletons of cattle and sheep”.

Floods in Middlewood and Bathpool - Cornish & Devon Post - Saturday 17 November 1894

Water

Water is not a commodity that is in short supply in North Hill. The prevailing south westerly winds bring moist air from the Atlantic Ocean and as the air rises it cools into the rain we know only too well. Many homes have private water supplies from springs and streams on the moor but those furthest from the moor are supplied with mains water.

An Act of Parliament from the reign of Edward VIII in 1936 established the manner in which mains water could be taken from the moor by the South East Cornwall Water Board. The detailed section of the act dealing with the local works to be done can be seen by clicking on this image (1mb pdf).

A later development took mains water to Lezant and the 1965 map showing the course of the mains can be seen by clicking on the map below (0.9mb pdf).

We are grateful to John Panter for supplying the map and the copy of the Act.

The images that make up the banner at the top of this page have been taken on the moor, in a hedge and on a rainy day.