Boconnoc Park IPA

Location: Cornwall, five miles east of Lostwithiel, south of the A390.

Grid Reference: SX 144 604


Boconnoc Park IPA has been recognised as one of 165 Important Plant Areas in the UK.

The key features of this IPA are:

  • The species richness of lichens on Broadleaved deciduous woodland: parkland
  • The Park, within the Boconnoc Estate in central Cornwall, comprises both parkland and woodland in the River Lerryn valley.

    Lying on calcareous slates and grits, the area, benefitting from high rainfall, humidity and light intensity which occur within the parkland and woodland glades, supports a rich and diverse number of lichen species. It is, therefore, a site of international importance, with approximately 188 epiphytic lichens, many national rarities, having been recorded here. Several of these rare lichen species have been recorded from single trees within the park. It is the only known British site for the lichen porina hibernica, which requires the very least disturbed, most sheltered, humid woodland, and whose appearance has given rise to its English name ‘blackberries in custard’!

    The estate has a long tradition of deer park management, some of the trees in the park being over 300 years old, promoting the continued growth of the lichens. The deer park is dominated by beech, with abundant oak and a sparse understorey. The groundcover is dominated by bracken. Ash is more abundant on the fringes of the wet tributary valley on the north side of the deer park where tussock sedge occurs. These ash trees and the dense willow around the lake are of particular importance for some of the rare lichens, as are the isolated clumps of oak, ash and sycamore to the southwest of Boconnoc House. The mixed broadleaved ancient woodland of Colliershill Wood to the north of the site supports an abundance of mature beech which is dominant in places. Ash, sessile oak and the invasive species sycamore are also frequent, together with pedunculate oak and sweet chestnut. The understorey supports species such as holly, hazel, hawthorn, elder and rhododendron. Bramble dominates much of the ground flora although one of the more interesting herb species is the uncommon woodland grass - wood millet.

    Image: Boconnoc Park © Robert Pittman under CC BY-ND 2.0