St Just Moors (Lower Bostraze & Leswidden) IPA
Location: Between St Just and Penzance, either side of the A3071, at the far west of Cornwall.
Grid Reference: SW 385 314
Lower Bostraze and Leswidden are disused China clay pits and important plant habitats for similar reasons to our St Austell Clay Pits IPA.The site comprises of three small discrete areas which lie to the east of St Just and within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The exposed clay waste and decaying granite rocks support an important population of the very rare western rushwort.This small, reddish non-vascular plant is only found at two locations in the UK -here and at the St Austell Clay Pits IPA.It is protected under UK and European legislation and is only found in Cornwall, Portugal, Madeira and the Azores. It is a pioneer species and its largest populations are found on surfaces at early stages of colonisation by other plant species.
The western rushwort colony at Lower Bostraze is in the southern half of the disused china-clay quarry where extraction ended around 1991 and is significantly larger than that found at Leswidden where extraction stopped before 1965.It is generally found on clay waste surfaces which are flat or gently sloping. Filamentous green algae, known as desmids, have also colonised the clay surfaces at both sites and the pools and ponds contain an exceptional richness of single-celled algae.