Fal and Helford IPA

Location: Flow into the sea at Falmouth Bay. Extend inland to Truro in the north and west from Helford to Gweek.

Grid Reference: SW 802 325


Fal & Helford IPA has been recognised as one of 165 Important Plant Areas in the UK.

The key features of this IPA are:

  • One of the UK’s most important populations of Shore Dock
  • The species richness of marine algae in Littoral rock and sediment, sublittoral rock and other hard substrata
  • One of the best UK examples of threatened habitats of:
    Salt tolerant vegetation on intertidal saltmarshes
  • The area of the Fal and Helford rivers and estuaries is an extremely important diversity of habitats ranging from marine areas to sandbanks, mudflats, shallow inlets and bays to Atlantic salt marshes. These are crucially important for vascular plants and marine algae, a notable rarity being the shore dock.

    Wildflowers you could see at Fal and Helford

    The range of coastal habitats in the IPA support nationally rare and nationally scarce plant species, including internationally important populations of shore dock, a European endemic threatened throughout its world range. It is also home to the curiously named many-fruited beardless moss, another extremely rare European endemic which in Cornwall (its world stronghold) is now known from just three localities. Near the mouths of both the Fal and Helford there are beds of eelgrass, and other notable species include the nationally scarce hairy bird's-foot-trefoil and Babington's leek. Other coast and estuary plants to be found include sea beet, sea milkwort, glasswort, rock sea spurrey, annual seablite, sea arrowgrass, alexanders, buck’s horn plantain, thrift and spring squill.

    Image: Fal and Helford IPA © Sue Nottingham