South West Water Announces New Hawks Tor Reservoir

For the previous article in this series please see:

The 2022 Drought in Cornwall

As Cornwall’s reservoirs finally begin refilling after a long hot summer South West Water announced in a press release last week that:

As part of South West Water’s continued investment in water resilience across the region, the company is today applying for a permit to unlock supplies from a new source in Cornwall.

Hawks Tor was a redundant china clay pit on Bodmin Moor purchased by South West Water in March 2022, the brownfield site has been converted into a water source and should be supplying customers this month.

This will be the first reservoir brought online by any water company in the country during the ongoing drought, using the latest technology to secure supplies in the short term and provide greater longer term resilience.

Susan Davy, CEO of Pennon Group which owns South West Water, said: “We continue to deliver on our long-standing commitment to investing in our region’s water resources, building capacity where it is needed most and ensuring long-term water resilience across the region. Having only acquired the site a matter of months ago, Hawks Tor should be supplying customers in November. We Continue to take early and proactive actions to ensure the security of water supply for our region during the current drought and into the future.”

Continue reading “South West Water Announces New Hawks Tor Reservoir”

Virgin’s Cosmic Girl Arrives in North Cornwall

In a press release yesterday Spaceport Cornwall announced that:

Ahead of the first launch from UK soil, “Cosmic Girl” Virgin Orbit’s converted Boeing 747 launch vehicle has touched down at Spaceport Cornwall, Cornwall Airport Newquay.

Cosmic Girl will carry seven payloads into Lower Earth Orbit from Cornwall via the LauncherOne rocket on the aptly named “Start Me Up” mission; Virgin Orbit’s first international launch.

The missions of these satellites span a wide range of activities aimed at improving life on planet Earth, including reducing the environmental impact of production; preventing illegal trafficking, smuggling, and terrorism; and a host of national security functions.

Amongst the numerous people quoted in the press release, Matt Archer, Director of Commercial Spaceflight at the UK Space Agency, said:

Watching a 747 land is always impressive, but everyone had goosebumps as Cosmic Girl touched down on the runway at Spaceport Cornwall for the first time.

We are now a matter of weeks away from launch and, while the excitement is building, teams on the ground continue to work hard on the preparations. More equipment, including the rocket, will arrive in the coming days and the delicate task of integrating the satellites will begin.

We have never done this before in the UK, it is a complex and technically challenging endeavour, and I’m confident in the capabilities of our partners at Virgin Orbit and Spaceport Cornwall to deliver a successful mission.”

Linda Taylor, Leader for Cornwall Council, added:

This is an exciting and significant moment as we welcome Cosmic Girl to the first UK Spaceport right here in Cornwall. Cornwall Council is proud to be a part of this project which puts Cornwall once again on the global stage. Spaceport Cornwall is already inspiring our young people to become the next generation of scientists and innovators – we look forward to the ground breaking research and exploration that will be undertaken in the years to come, which will help us to better understand and address the needs of our planet and in particular climate change.

Polish Prefabricated Houses in Davidstow!

I was taking my habitual bike ride across Davidstow Airfield yesterday afternoon when my eyes beheld a most unusual sight:

Needless to say I cycled over to enquire what was afoot. The driver of the lead articulated lorry informed me that he was from Poland and his English wasn’t very good. I assured him that his English was better than my Polish! He suggested that I speak to Piotr instead, which I duly did:

Piotr told me that the Polish company Danwood S.A. had previously assembled one of their prefabricated homes down the hill in Tremail, and they were currently about to construct another one down the hill the other way, near Camelford. However the big trucks shown above were unable to negotiate the narrow Cornish lanes, so everyone was busy on Davidstow Airfield transferring the components of the building onto smaller trucks for transport to the site:

Piotr assured me that once all the parts were on site it would take around 3 days to erect the building, and that it would be weatherproof within a week!

Given my own interest in electric vehicles and renewable electricity generation I asked Piotr about whether Solar PV panels or an electric vehicle charging point would be part of their latest new build in Cornwall. He said that Danwood could cater for both, but he didn’t know whether either had been specified for this particular home.

Watch this space!



Autumn Has Arrived. So Has The Sewage!

Following a very pleasant period of dry weather earlier in September the rains have arrived in North Cornwall.

Here is the Netweather.tv rain radar map from yesterday evening:

I suggested on Twitter that it would be prudent to consult the Surfer’s Against Sewage water quality map this morning. This is what it reveals:


Although not yet shown on the SAS map the Environment Agency’s bathing water quality map suggests not going surfing today at our local big beach break:

In related news here is this morning’s graph of the pound/dollar exchange rate:

It seems everything is going down the pan simultaneously here in Kernow, under the current Government in Westminster. Except bankers’ bonuses in the City of London of course! According to the Guardian:

The City watchdog is being urged to investigate whether leaks of Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget allowed billionaire hedge fund investors to make “small fortunes” by betting against the pound.

Tulip Siddiq, the shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, said the Financial Conduct Authority needed to determine whether it was possible for traders to have used insider information to benefit from the crashing currency.

The pound fell to an all-time low of $1.03 against the dollar overnight on Monday before recovering lost ground amid speculation that the Bank of England would raise interest rates to shore up the economy.

Perhaps we need our own currency here in Kernow? Bring back the dynar!

[Edit – October 3rd]

This news comes from the south coast of Cornwall, but according to their Facebook page the Gyllyngvase Surf Life Saving Club’s Endless Summer Swim event on Sunday was postponed for a week:

Unfortunately due to the deluge of rain yesterday, we have a sewage alert on the beach and with another wave of wet weather due for the morning, we have decided to postpone until next Sunday This year has felt like we’ve had constant alerts on the beach so please South West Water can you take responsibility and do something about it?

[Edit – October 22nd]

There’s been a fair bit of rain in these parts recently. Here’s the NetWeather.tv rain radar from yesterday morning for example:

Hence it doesn’t come as a big surprise that this morning several beaches on the North coast of Cornwall are yet again suffering sewage pollution according to the Surfers Against Sewage water quality map:

[Edit – October 28th]

After an all too brief respite from sewage pollution incidents along the coast of North Cornwall, this morning there has been a discharge at Widemouth Sand, our local big beach break:

There have also been incidents at Seaton and Millandreath on the south coast. Further south still, at Long Rock “sewer systems in this location are under maintenance and the water company has temporarily disabled real-time alerts”

[Edit – October 30th]

Widemouth Sand is clear again on the Surfers Against Sewage water quality map. However further west there are now several sewage pollution incidents along the north coast of Cornwall:

Some graphic videos of the pollution incident at St. Agnes have been posted on Twitter:

[Edit – November 1st]

After a very brief respite Widemouth Bay has suffered another sewage pollution incident:

So has St. Agnes:

[Edit – November 3rd]

There has been plenty of rain across Cornwall this week. Here’s the Met Office’s rain radar map at 4 PM yesterday:

Consequently there are now numerous sewage pollution incidents all round the coast:

The only good news locally is that Widemouth Bay is currently not red flagged, but at Summerleaze beach in Bude South West Water “has [still] temporarily disabled real-time alerts.”

Watch this space!

The Mini Budget’s Assault on Nature

In Friday’s mini-budget the Government announced the creation of 38 “investment zones” across England. In effect planning regulations are loosened to allow for potential growth, giving construction companies “carte blanche” for development. As a result wildlife habitats will be destroyed and, according to the RSPB, this represents an unprecedented assault on nature. The environment will be one of the biggest casualties in a very short sighted plan. Without a healthy environment nothing will thrive.

Meanwhile Scott Mann, our local MP, is contradicting the RSPB by “retweeting” Defra:

I think the facts speak for themselves.

It is mind-boggling that at a time when climate change is of major concern, the Prime Minister focuses on growth with no concessions to the green agenda. Does the new government live on a different planet from the rest of us? How can we as a country go for growth if wildlife and nature are the casualties? The planet is already suffering and scientists insist we need to reverse CO₂ emissions and live sustainably if there is going to be a future for homo sapiens and other animals here on Earth.

This Government is actively accelerating the demise of life on this planet. Thumbs down.

Camelford’s Visions of the Tory Mini Budget

I haven’t had my flowing locks trimmed by a professional since before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier today I corrected that oversight at Visions Unisex Hair Salon in the centre of Camelford:

My by now somewhat unruly coiffure was professionally tamed by Jess. Then as I was paying I couldn’t help but notice this picture of Jess, Tracey and Visions’ proprietor Kerrie:

More about the Visions’ team’s charitable activities in due course, but having pledged myself to support their current fund raising effort on behalf of the Marie Curie cancer charity we had an animated discussion about the difficulties of running a small business in rural North Cornwall in the current economic climate. By way of example Kerrie told me that it’s hard to keep your head above water in the current climate, and two other hairdressers in Camelford have closed in the last six months. Which no doubt explains why the first number I called this morning is now unobtainable.

After leaving Visions I crossed the road to record this video, which is now available on Twitter:

If I’d had more time I would have popped into the Camelford Conservative Club to ask them what their energy bills were last winter, what those bills are now, and what budget they have allocated for the purchase of energy over the coming winter.

Watch this space!

See also:The Mini Budget’s Assault on Nature



Twitter Troubles in North Cornwall

We are currently locked out of the Davidstow.info Twitter account. It seems as though one of Twitter’s illustrious algorithms has taken exception to a video I first uploaded yesterday evening.

Here it is on YouTube, with an added bonus music track:

This was the notification we received via our now “locked” Twitter account:

I didn’t delete the Tweet, because it didn’t violate any of “the Rules“!

Twitter also notified me that the account was locked via email. After the account was eventually unlocked I replied asking Twitter Support to provide an explanation for the inexplicable behaviour of their automated rule violation detection system:

Re: Case# 0288115441: Your account is suspended or locked [ ref:_00DA0K0A8._5004w2VeUf9:ref ]

Good morning (UTC),

Please can you explain what alleged “violations of the Twitter Rules” caused the problem in the first place? We have no desire to innocently post another wholly harmless video of the local landscape which nonetheless seems to fall foul of some “rule” that isn’t amongst the list on your web site!

Your initial notification wasn’t very helpful, to say the least:

Specifically for what?

Best wishes,

Jim Hunt

Watch this space!



The Autumn 2022 Wave of Covid-19 in Cornwall

The UK Government is now only updating its Covid-19 Dashboard once a week. Here’s last week’s Cornwall wide overview:

The effectiveness of the current Covid-19 testing regime is certainly open to question, but an increase of almost 25% in a week certainly gives some cause for concern.

Zooming in to North Cornwall, there is currently a “hot spot” of cases just up the A39 “Atlantic Highway” from here in the Poundstock MSOA:

There are currently fewer hotspots with a weekly case rate over 100 per 100,000 population in West Cornwall:

Recently there has also been a slight increase in Covid admissions to the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust:

This analysis suggests that hospital admissions across South West England as a whole have also started to increase:

“Implied R estimate rising towards 1.0”. We await next week’s data with much interest.

[Edit – September 22nd]

The case rates across the county on September 17th don’t look alarming in the least:

However the same cannot be said for hospital admissions:

What could possibly have caused that sudden spike in admissions on September 19th?

[Edit – September 29th]

His Majesty’s Government have released the latest weekly Covid-19 statistics, and they do not look encouraging for Cornwall. Let’s start with the case rates on September 24th, although as we shall see the current lack of exhaustive testing means they are a long way from the whole story:

The weekly case rate per 100,000 population has almost double in one week across the county as a whole. Here in North(ish) Cornwall the current “hot spot” is Callington with a case rate of over 200. There is also a wide area with over 100 cases per 100,000:

Things don’t look quite so bad further west, but Camborne East is also in the over 200 club:

Here is the most surprising sets of graphs. Hospital admissions and in-patients suffering from Covid-19 for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust:

The data is incomplete for the past few days, but the most recent wave of Covid-19 in Kernow has already reached the level of the July peak.

[Edit – October 6th]

The weekly Covid-19 case rate per 100,000 population across Cornwall has crept over the 100.0 mark this week:

Here in North(ish) Cornwall the current hotspot is still Callington, with a case rate over 200.0 on October 1st. Liskeard is not far behind:

Further west parts of Truro are also dark blue on the Government’s map:

After the surge over the previous two weeks hospital admissions and in-patients suffering from Covid-19 have stabilised at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust:

[Edit – October 13th]

The weekly Covid-19 case rate across Cornwall rose by 20% last week and is now over 125 per 100,000 population:

Torpoint in South East Cornwall is the first MSOA in the county to reach a case rate of over 400 in the current wave of the Covid-19 pandemic:

In North(ish) Cornwall St. Neot & St. Cleer tops the current leader board with a rate of almost 225.

Further west St. Day is somewhat higher, with a rate of 263.8:

Hospital admissions and in-patients suffering from Covid-19 at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust are slowly declining:

[Edit – October 20th]

The weekly Covid-19 case rate across Cornwall fell last week. It is now just over 100 per 100,000 population:

Torpoint is still a Covid-19 hotspot, but the case rate has reduced to 250.3. Here in North Cornwall the case rate in Bodmin East has increased to 236.2:

Further west Mevagissey has a rate of 186.2:

Despite the falling case rate the number of in-patients at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust suffering from Covid-19 is increasing once again:

Watch this space!

The 2022 Drought in Cornwall

For the previous article in this series please see:

The August Heatwave(s) in Cornwall

There ultimately proved to be two official heatwaves in August, but Autumn now seems to have arrived in North Cornwall. It is currently raining, but it remains to be seen how quickly the decline in Cornish reservoir levels can be reversed.

Earlier today the South West Lakes Trust updated their table of the current water levels of Cornish reservoirs:

South West Water also provide graphs for the largest two:

The water level at Colliford reduced by 3.1% of its total net capacity last week. Stithians fell by 3.2%. Our local Crowdy Reservoir declined by 2% over the week and Upper Tamar reservoir is down to 24% of its total net capacity.

Continue reading “The 2022 Drought in Cornwall”

The August Heatwave(s) in Cornwall

For the previous article in this series (which is becoming overly lengthy!) please see:

Drought for Cornwall later in 2022?

As the weeks have passed the answer to that question seems increasingly likely to be “Yes”. Hence we’ll begin August 2022 with the current water levels of Cornish reservoirs provided by the South West Lakes Trust:

South West Water also provide graphs for the largest two:

As you can see the water levels in both Colliford and Stithians reservoirs are already below their lowest levels last year. Colliford is also well below its level at the beginning of August 1995, a particularly dry year for Cornwall and other parts of the United Kingdom.

Continue reading “The August Heatwave(s) in Cornwall”