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Creating and restoring habitats at our nature reserves

We have enhanced habitats at Greena Moor, our culm grassland nature reserve in north Cornwall, for the benefit of three critical species.

Two person working on a log, one is shaving the wood log and the other holding the log in the woodland.

Work began with scrub clearance in November on land close to one of the two known locations for Viola lactea. This aimed to increase the prevalence of heathland and fen meadow in an area that surveys showed had contracted since 1999.

Much of the clearance took place around the periphery of the remaining open habitat and included birch, willow, bramble and gorse. Following this work, the area was well-grazed by cattle to help wild plants and grasses to regenerate. 

In late January, our staff worked alongside colleagues from Cornwall Wildlife Trust to clear scrub for Vicia orobus. This saw us cut gorse, bramble and willow on the steep bank where two new colonies were discovered in 2020. We anticipate that soil disturbed by this work will create good opportunities for dormant Viola lactea seed to germinate. 

Creating new water habitats

As well as focusing on dry land, we also turned our efforts to water during the year. We began by searching for plants in two small pools either side of a ford, where Ranunculus tripartitus had previously been recorded, and discovered a single plant in the south pool.

This paved the way for the creation of 10 new pools in January 2023. These range from 4 to 10 metres in diameter and are a maximum of 30cm deep. We have located them close to the existing pools, which should provide good opportunities for colonisation.   


The benefit of strong relationships

All of this work has been in the pipeline for some time, but was delayed as a result of COVID-19 and other challenges. Thanks to our exemplary relationships with Cornwall Wildlife Trust and our tenant farmer at the reserve, we have still been able to complete it with ample opportunity for the habitats to thrive. 

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