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New research show elephants first created Cornwall's road network

Apr 1, 2019

Researchers at the University of North Cornwall are working on a new project indicating that much of Cornwall's road network was created by elephants trampling the native vegetation.

Elephants lived in the British Isles, including Cornwall during the Ipswichian interglacial (also known as Eemian) epoch between 130,000 years ago and 115,000 years ago, when temperatures were similar to or slightly warmer than at present, before the last glacial period.

See the following link by George Monbiot:

Historical average temperature on Earth (Wikimedia Commons)

A model of a straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) (Credit: BBC Earth/Apotea)

Elephants will have made tracks over most of Britain, however in much of this area, the tracks would surely have been erased by ice sheets in the Last Glacial Maximum.

Ice sheets in Europe during the Last Glacial Maximum
Cornwall however was not glaciated, so tracks made by elephants in the 130-115kyr BP interglacial could have survived, and may have continued in use by herds of migrating woolly mammoth that visited Cornwall in the summer to graze, and potentially the early Cornish who hunted them.
Woolly mammoth were able to reach their summer pastures in Cornwall by crossing the Channel river - either in sections where it was broad and shallow, or during the spring before the ice melted.

Elephants travelling on their favourite routes in Cornwall would over time create enduring tracks by trampling and browsing of vegetation, and compaction of soil. These routes would be more easily followed by other wildlife, and eventually humans. There would also have been additional resources due to the distribution of plant seeds and improvement of soil nutrients by elephant droppings.

The research used a download of the secondary, tertiary and unclassified road network in Cornwall, from OpenStreetMap. Primary and trunk roads were ignored since they are liable to be on modern alignments.

Were some of these roads built by elephants?
Cornwall was contrasted with Cumbria, since any elephant tracks would be expected to be erased there during the last glacial period.
Cumbria in northern England was covered in thick ice sheets during the last glacial period, so it is presumed that any traces of elephants from the previous interglacial are erased.

Northern Wales was similarly covered by a thick ice sheet.
Modelling of the last glacial period in Wales (Patton et al 2012)

The secondary, tertiary and unclassified roads have various numbers of features in the different areas:

  • Cornwall - 9730
  • Cumbria - 9704
  • Wales - 30775
Using K-means clustering, showing 5 clusters in Cornwall and Cumbria:
there are the Isles of Scilly, and a spurious feature off the map, so there are really 7 clusters here

5 K-means clusters of the minor road network in Cumbria
The numbers of features, total road length, mean and median length in the clusters are:


  • 0: 1001, 846km, 845m, 455m
  • 3: 2689, 1406km, 523m, 257m
  • 4: 2034, 1375km, 676m, 403m
  • 5: 2597, 1597km, 615m, 293m
  • 6: 1308, 596km, 456m, 215m


  • 0: 2104, 1202km, 571m, 232m
  • 1: 1754, 802km, 457m, 213m
  • 2: 2468, 1929km, 782m, 344m
  • 3: 1793, 861km, 480m, 213m
  • 4: 1585, 914km, 576m, 241m 

Cornwall has 2 clusters (0 and 6 in the far west, and north Cornwall respectively) that are much smaller in terms of number of features than the other 3, indicating that certain clusters, notably the two largest clusters, labelled 3 and 5 have a dense road network which originated when elephants followed river valleys in their migrations in search of food sources.
Cluster 0 in North Cornwall is less dense possibly due to episodic glaciation of Bodmin Moor and surrounding areas erasing elephant tracks.

Cumbria in contrast has relatively evenly sized clusters, apart from cluster 2 which is larger than the rest, correlated with a flatter topography than the rest of the area.
The remaining clusters are similar in number of features and average line length. This is to be expected due to the erasure of the pre-glacial elephant migration routes.

Heatmap of road intersections (10km kernel size)

In Cornwall, there is a strong variation in the regional distribution of road junction density due to differences in the density of the elephant migration routes. It may be supposed that the area between Truro, Redruth and Penryn was highly favourable to elephants during the 130-115kyr BP interglacial.

In Cumbria, there is a lower density of road intersections due to the erasure of previous interglacial elephant migration tracks during the last glacial period.
The secondary, tertiary and unclassified road network in Wales, in 15 clusters to keep the average number of features broadly comparable to the previous work.

Outside the major urban areas, the density of the road junctions are markedly lower in Wales than in Cornwall, indicating elephant tracks were erased in the last glacial maximum.
The relative high density of the Cornish minor road network is shown in this work to originate in tracks created by elephants in the 130-115 kyr BP interglacial, and potentially maintained through the glacial period by seasonally migrant wooly mammoth grazing the tundra vegetation available in Cornwall in the summer during the glacial period. In contrast, in areas that were glaciated including Wales and Cumbria the elephant tracks were erased, resulting in a different road network topology.

Ebrenn yn nos mis-Genver 2019

Jan 4, 2019

Here is the transcript for the Ebrenn y'n Nos segment for January 2019 for Radyo an Gernewegva, broadcast in #413:

Ottani dhe’n diwedh 2018 ha mires a-rag orth bledhen nowydh 2019.
Yma meur a taklow ow hwarvos lemmyn yn kever efanvos.

An lester-efanvos NASA, OSIRIS-REx a wrug dos dhe’n planetik Bennu, hag a wrug y dhrehedhes an tressa mis-Kevardhu. Ev o lonchys an 8ves Gwynngala 2016.
Yma Bennu planetik diantell, drefenn bos ev yn resegva gans galloes skwattya an norvys. Yma chons onan yn 2700 ev dhe skwattya an norvys ynter an bledhennyow 2175 ha 2199. Kynth yw saw 492 a veter y myns, y fia euthyk mar kwra ev skwattya an norvys. OSIRIS-Rex a wra studhya Bennu, ha’n towlenn yw dhe gemmer sampel an 4a mis-Gortheren 2020 gans tava an planetik gans bregh robotek. Mar kwra puptra mos yn ta, an sampel a wra dehweles dhe’n norvys yn mis-Gwynngala 2023.

New Horizons, an hwithrell a dhresneyjyas Pluto, a wra dresneyja an taklenn grogys Kuiper (486958) 2014 MU69 dhe Dy’Kalann 2019. An taklenn ma yw henwys yn ansodhogel “Ultima Thule”. Ev a vydh 43.4 unnses steroniethel a’n howl ha New Horizons y dresneyja. Onan unnses steroniethel yw pellder an howl dhe’n norvys.

Yma hwrithrell nowydh war enep Meurth. An tiror “InSight” a diras dhe’n hwegves warn ugens mis-Du. Yma seismometer ha hwrithrell gwaskedh ayr dhedhi. Dre hemma, yth yw possybl dhe glywes an gwyns war Meurth.

Ottomma nebes an son, ughelhes gans 2 oktav:

Yma tarder dhedhi ynwedh a wra musura tempredh dor Meurth bys dhe pymp meter yn-dann an enep.
Imaj diworth

Imaj diworth

Soweth, nag eus nowodhow diworth an gwrandrell “Opportunity” war enep Meurth. Yma NASA hwath ow koslowes orth sinell radyo dhiworto.

An hwrithrell howl Parker a wrug hy hynsa nesheans dhe’n howl yn salow 6ves mis-Du, hag a wra dos ogas dhe’n howl arta yn mis-Ebrel.

Yth esa loer leun 22a mis-Kevardhu, ha diwetta kwarter 29ves mis-Kevardhu. Yma loer nowydh 6ves mis-Genver, kynsa kwarter 14ves mis-Genver, loer leun 21a mis-Genver, ha diwettha kwarter 27ves mis-Genver.
Yma difyk an loer dhe’n 21a mis-Genver, mes y fydh res difuna a-varr orth y weles.
Skeus an norvys yw diberthys ynter ‘umbra’ ha ‘penumbra’, henn a styr, yn leow y’n umbra, an howl leun yw gorherys, mes yn penumbra saw rann an howl yw gorherys. Yn difyk, an loer yn hy resegva a movya dre skeus an norvys.
Mars yw an loer saw yn skeus penumbra, nyns yw an difyk apert, mes mars yw an loer yn umbra, yth yw an loer gans brath kemmerys dhe ves.
Yn difyk kowal an loer, oll an loer yw yn umbra, ha tewl, mes nebes golow dasfreythys dre ayrgylgh an norvys a dhrehedhes an loer hwath. Awos henna, yth yw hwath gweladow, rudh ha tewl.
An difyk umbra a durya a 03:33 bys dhe 06:50, ha’n difyk kowal a 04:41 bys dhe 05:43.
Imaj diworth

An planetys, Yow ha Sadorn yw re ogas dhe’n howl y’n ebrenn lemmyn orth y weles, mes Meurth yw hwath yn ebrenn gorthugher ha Gwener yw gweladow yn bora, avel “Borlowen”. An hen Grekyon a’n jevo dew hanow rag Gwener Hesperus yn gorthugher ha Phosphoros yn bora, kynth yns I an keth planet. Dhe’n 6ves mis-Genver, Gwener yw orth hy brassa pellder yn ebrenn diworth an howl. Res yw difuna a-varr ha mires orth an ebrenn est kyns an howldrevel.

07:30 kh 6ves mis-Genver 2019, ow mires orth an soth-est. Gwrys gans Cartes du Ciel

Bys nessa prys ha bledhen nowydh da dhywgh hwi oll!

Ebrenn y'n Nos mis-Hedra 2018

Dec 18, 2018

Here is the transcript for the October 2018 segment of Ebrenn y'n Nos (Sky at Night) broadcast in Radyo an Gernewegva #400

Ebrenn y’n nos - mis-Hedra 2018

Yn hanter-bys north, ottani yn kynyav. An howl a wra esedha a-varra pub nos, ha'n nosow dhe hirhe. Tredhegves warn ugens mis-Gwynngala o an kehysnos, ha'n nos kehys ha'n dydh.

Kepar hag y’n hav ma, yma nebes planetys y’n ebrenn gorthugher. Yow yw kales dhe weles lemmyn, isel yn ebrenn soth-west wosa an howl dhe sedha. Sadorn yw isel yn Soth wosa howlsedhes, hag a wra sedha kyns unnek eur, hag a-varra diwettha yn mis

Meurth yw apert isel yn Soth yn gorthugher, yn rannneves Capricornus, mes le a splannder es mis-Gortheren, drefenn nyns yw mar ogas lemmyn. Dhe dhalleth mis-Hedra y vraster yw -1.3 ha diwedh mis-Hedra -0.6. Henn yw hwath moy splann es pub sterenn gweladow a Gernow saw Sirius.

NASA a wrug lonchya an Hwithrell Howl Parker an 12ves mis-Est. An towl yw dhe studhya an howl ha'n hwithrell mos moy ogas es pub hwithrell arall kyns. Dhe’n 13ves mis-Gwynngala, an system yeynhe o skychys yn fyw, ha dowr ow mos dre an panellys howl ha dewynnadoryon dhe lehe tempredh an lester-efanvos.
An Hwrithrell Howl Parker kyns ev dhe vos lonchys. Notyewgh an dewynnadoryon du a-wartha dhe'n hwithrell ha'n skeus-toemmder orth an topp.

An hwithrell howl Parker a wra mos dhe'n ogassa 3.8 milvil a vildiryow diworth an howl. Ev a wra durya seyth blydhenn dhe mos ena, hag usya gronnedh an planet Gwener yn unn dresneyjya dhe kavoes an uskitter bras dhe neshe an howl. An kynsa nesheans dhe'n howl a vydh mis-Du an vlydhen ma.
Yth esa an lonch 12ves mis-Est 2018, an kynsa dresneyjyans Gwener 3a mis-Hedra, ha'n kynsa howlnesva 6ves mis-Du.
An norvys yw trydhek milvil ha peswar ugens a vildiryow diworth an howl. Ytho, pan vydh an hwithrell yn y resegva finel, krevder an howlsplann a vydh bys dhe 600 gweyth y grevder omma.

Y fydh res usya skeus-toemmder, gans tewder a 4.5 meusva, gwrys a "komposit karbon". Ny yll an hwithrell mires orth enep an howl, awos krevder an howlsplann ena, mes yma daffar dhe studhya an mesyow tennvenek, temmigow nerthek an gwyns howl ha'n ayrgylgh howl, an korona.

Ny wrug an wandrell NASA 'Opportunity' war Meurth bos kestavys hwath. An wandrell a wrug kestava an norvys diwettha dhe’n 10ves mis-Metheven, wosa moy es peswardhek blydhen war enep Meurth a-ban 2004. Yth esa tewedh doust bras war Meurth, ha nyns esa howlsplann lowr rag hy fanellys howl. Dhe dhalleth mis-Gwynngala, myns doust yn ayrgylgh Meurth a-dro dhe Opportunity o isella, hag ynjinoryon NASA a wra tybi bos howlsplann lowr dhedhi dhe dhaskarga hy batri. I a wra assaya hy hestava pub dydh. Govenek a’m beus vydh an wandrell ma klewys arta. Y’n termyn a dheu, martesen lestri radyo Goonhelghi a wra keskommunyans an par ma.

Moy a gedhlow diworth:

An lester-efanvos Nihonek Hayabusa 2, a wrug drehedhes an planetik Ryugu an Metheven ma, a sewenas lonchya y dhiw wandrell vyghan, henwys MINERVA-II-1 (yth yw akronym, kales dhe dreyla dhe Gernewek - Micro nano experimental robot vehicle for Asteroid, the second generation). An gwandrellyow a wrug tira war an planetik kynsa warn ugens mis-Gwynngala. An planetik Ryugu yw ogas hag unn kilometer a-hys.
Shap an planetik Ryugu gwrys gans Pennskol Kobe. Kevrenn:
 Kredit imaj : Kobe University, University of Aizu (shape model creation), Auburn University (video creation), JAXA

An gwrandrellyow MINERVA-II 'Hibou' ha 'Owl'
An gwandrellyow yw ogas hag unn kilogramm kettep onan. I a yll lyfansas a-dro dhe’n planetik, ha tenna skeusennow anodho ha mesura tempredh hag erell. Dre usya an dhiw anedha, i a yll musura an shap trymynsek. Gans pub lamm, drefenn bos an gronnedh pur wann, an wandrell a yll lyfansas 15 meter, ha’n lamm a dhurya pymthek mynysenn. I a wra oberi yn omrewlys, heb edhomm gortos rag gorhemmynadow diworth an norvys pub termyn.
Imaj ensampel an enep diworth an wrandrell 1B 'Owl'.

Ebrenn y'n Nos mis-Gortheren 2018

Dec 18, 2018

Here is a transcript of the Ebrenn y'n Nos (Sky at Night) segment for Radyo an Gernewegva. This was for July 2018, though I was a bit delayed in recording it, so it went out late near the end of the month:


Ebrenn y’n nos mis-Gortheren 2018

Hav yw lemmyn, ha’n nosow yw berr, mes hwath yma taklow dhe weles y’n ebrenn.

Gwener yw y’n ebrenn gorthugher wosa an howl dhe sedha. Gwener yw an splanna taklenn y’n ebrenn wosa an howl ha’n loer. Y’n hav ma, hi yw y’n west po north-west isel y’n ebrenn wosa an howlsedhes.
Yma planetys arall y’n ebrenn ynwedh. Yow yw yn soth an ebrenn a-dro dhe dheg eur gorthugherweyth dhe dhalleth mis-Gortheren ha nebes a-varra diwettha y’n mis. Yth yw yn rannneves Libra, ha nyns yw ev pur ughel y’n ebrenn. Sadorn yw gweladow ynwedh, le splann ha diwettha y’n nos, isel y’n ebrenn yn rannneves Sagittarius. Orth kynsa mis-Gortheren, Sadorn o y’n soth a-dro dhe unn eur myttinweyth. Mes drefenn y dheklinyans yw pell dhe’n soth, a-dro dhe -22.5 a dhegreow, nyns yw ughel yn ebrenn diworth omma y’n hanter-bys north.

Meurth yw planet pur splann an hav ma. Mes soweth nyns yw Meurth pur ughel yn ebrenn nyneyl. Dhe dhiwedh mis-Metheven, y splannder o -2.2, an keth ha Yow, hag a wrug sevi dhe 23:37 ha bos ughella dhe 03:39. 15ves mis-Gortheren, y splannder yw -2.6 ha sevel dhe 22:45 ha bos ughella dhe 02:37 y’n myttin. An dydh pan hwra Meurth an splanna drefenn y bos an mohya ogas dhe’n norvys yn y resegva, yw 31a mis-Gortheren. War an jydh na, y splannder a vydh -2.8 ha sevel dhe 21:32 ha bos ughella dhe 01:13. Y’n termyn na, Meurth a vydh an tressa taklenn y’n ebrenn nos, wosa an loer ha Gwener.

Dell vydh usys, Yow yw splanna es Meurth, nyns yw yn fenowgh Meurth dhe gavoes moy a splannder es Yow, mes dhe diwedh mis-Gortheren yth yw. An reson yw dhe diwedh mis-Gortheren ma, Meurth yw y moyha ogas dhe’n norvys. Resegva Meurth yw hirgylghek, ha resegva an norvys yw ogas dhe gylgh. Drefenn an norvys yw nes dhe’n howl, an norvys a wra mos a-dro uskissa, ow kowlwul resegva yn 365 a dhydhyow. Meurth yw pella, hag ev a wra kowlwul resegva yn 687 a dhydhyow. Ytho, traweythyow an norvys a dremena dres Meurth. Henn a hwarvos pub 780 a dydhyow.

Delinyans diworth Mirva Steronieth Kenedhlethel Nihon

Pan vydh planet a-dal dhe’n howl y’n ebrenn, henn yw enebieth, hag an planet yw gweladow yn kres an nos. Drefenn an planet yw an moyha ogas yn y resegva dhe’n norvys, ev yw an prys y moyha splannder. Nyns yw pub enebieth Meurth par drefenn y eskresekter. Mars yw Meurth ogas dhe’n howl yn y resegva pan hwra an norvys y dremena, an pellder yw le, ha Meurth a dhiskwedh brassa ha splanna es dell vydh usys. An termyn ma, Meurth a wra bos 35.8 milvil a mildiryow, po 57.6 milvil a gilometrow a’n norvys dhe 31ves Gortheren.

Imaj diworth LacailleOz

War eneb Meurth, yma tewedh doust bras y’n termyn ma. Onan an gwandrellyow robotek war Meurth, ‘Opportunity’ yw yn mysk an tewedh, ha nyns yw possybl an wandrell oberi drefenn nag eus howlsplann dh’y nerthhe. Dell waytyav, y fydh sinell klywys diworto arta.

Yma towlenn dhe NASA danvonn tro-askell dhe Meurth. Henn a wrussa bos kamm kynsa nowydh dhe dhenseth, drefenn na veu nevra jynn-nija war bys arall bythkweth. Gans an efanvos Mars 2020, y fydh tro-askell vyghan, ogas dhe 1.8 kilogram, braster kepar ha ‘pel medhel’ (ynter pel tennis ha peldroes) gans lownyow gevell kontrarosellek a wra trelya 3000 tro pub mynysenn. Henn yw degplek kevradh rosella tro-askell war an norvys, drefenn bos an ayrgylgh war Meurth tanowa.

An efanvos Nihonek Hayabusa 2 a wra neshe an planetik Ryugu. Ev a wrug kemmer nebes skeusennow anodho seulabrys, hag an towlenn yw dhe besya y neshe ha tira yn mis-Gwynngala po mis-Hedra, kemmer sampel anodho ha’y dehweles dhe’n norvys yn mis-Kevardhu 2020.

An loerell Sentinel 5-P esa lonchys warlyna, usi ow mires orth an norvys dhe dhiskwedh myns a nebes gassow yn agan ayrgylgh, dre spektrometer golow a-wel ha golow isrudh. Y fydh usadow dhe vires orth defolans ayr, ow komprehendya karbon monoksid, oxsids nitrogen, sulfur dioksid ha methan.

Karbon monoksid yn Asia

Chilli and tomato harvest

Dec 9, 2018

This is from the end of October, when I harvested all remaining chilli, sweet pepper and tomato fruits both on the patio outside my flat and at my parents greenhouse.

Some Peppadew and other chilli plants, along with a sunflower that never actually flowered because its flowering head was eaten by snails

Various types of chilli and sweet pepper
Lots of green tomatoes ready to be made into chutney
Various chillis, peppers and tomatoes

Tomatoes and some more Peppadews

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