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Loe Pool Forum: Selection of Msc Studies

Loe Pool Forum

Neill Wood, Camborne School of Mines.

Key findings:

  • An investigation into whether Helston could have been a port, as claimed by many
  • Using novel techniques for predicting flood risk from surface run-off into the Cober using ground resistivity.  Subsequent research has been taking this further, using geophysical techniques to measure the effectiveness of a proposed flood risk mitigation measure.
  • Several studies of Loe Pool and Loe bar including the only detailed bathymetric study of Loe Pool which subsequently informed the design of the new drainage adit through the Bar.  Several interesting archaeological features have also been revealed.
  • Flood capacity modelling
  • Catchment area drainage modelling


Since 2012 Neill Wood of Camborne School of Mines has played an active role in the Loe Pool Forum, an organisation bringing together a wide range of organisations with an interest in managing the environment of Loe Pool, the River Cober and its associated catchment area.  This has included working with various government initiatives such as Upstream Thinking.  Without the contribution of the students, important information used to inform decisions about the management of the environment and water quality by a range of government bodies and other organisations would either not be available or would need to be obtained by other means at considerable cost with little funding available.

Loe Pool is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) but has had serious issues with pollution and algal blooms. The River Cober is prone to flooding with the St. John’s area of Helston having been badly flooded in 2012.  The catchment area of the River Cober includes the former Wendron mining district and is now largely agricultural, providing issues of contamination that affect not only Loe Pool but also the primary water supply for Helston.

The objectives of the Loe Pool Forum have provided an excellent opportunity for MSc students from the programme in Surveying, Land and Environmental Management to make a significant contribution.  Since 2013 a series of varied but valuable dissertation projects have been undertaken, under the guidance of Neill Wood, proving valuable and often innovative research into a range of issues.  The body of work, published on the website of the Loe Pool Forum ( includes topics such as: Could Helston have been a port settlement, an investigation into mine pollutants and drainage, studies into the history of the Bar and Hydrographic surveys of the pool.

Students from this programme also work widely with a range of other organisations, groups and landowners across Cornwall, sharing their reports and data with interested bodies.   One of the things that we have found is that flood management works best when we look at the problem holistically and deal with problems as close to the source as possible.  Flood and drought resistant grass has an important part to play in this, reducing flood risk and also providing pasture that is more tolerant to the long dry summers that we might expect from climate change.  Holistic flood management can be self-funding: farmers have an incentive to use the new grass mix as it will save them considerable cost for fodder in dry summers, leaving the wet winter benefits as a side-effect, free of cost to wider society.   As an extra bonus, the drought and flood resistant grass mixes have an elevated protein content that cattle seem to love and which is especially beneficial for beef herds.

As someone born and raised in West Cornwall from mining ancestry, Neill actively seeks to contribute to his community and to continue the longstanding relationship between Camborne School of Mines and the people of Cornwall.

»Find out more on Loe Pool website