Corporate report

Cornwall's Nature Reserves

Published 31 October 2008

Applies to England

Golitha Falls

Golitha Falls NNR is a steeply sided wooded valley, with the River Fowey flowing through it in a series of spectacular cascades that drop 90 metres in altitude.

Main habitats: woodland

Area: 18 hectares

Features of interest

The reserve is a long gorge, lined with ancient oak woodland that gives way to the River Fowey at the bottom.

The site is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its woodland flora. The dramatic landscape created by the River Fowey is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

It’s one of Cornwall’s richest valleys for bryophytes in Cornwall, with more than 120 species recorded here. It is equally important for lichens, with 48 species including the nationally rare Parmelia minarum. Woodland wildflowers include bluebells and wood anemone.

The reserve is also home to dormice, which reside in the ancient hazel coppice. Noctule, brown long-eared and lesser horseshoe bats have been recorded.

The river supports healthy populations of both salmon and sea trout. Otter are often seen exploring the falls.

Much of the reserve is known to be ancient woodland, with Draynes Wood recorded in the Domesday Book (1086).

In spring the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebells and wood anemones, while the meadow areas see bugle, self-heal, white clover, common tormentil and valerian species flourish.

The reserve supports 83 species of moth, including the notable double lines. Butterflies include the meadow brown, marbled white, green-veined white, gatekeeper, small skipper, ringlet, speckled wood and silver-washed fritillary.

Winter storms cause the River Fowey to swell, making the waterfalls even more torrential. Extra care should be taken when visiting after heavy rainfall.


The nearest train station is in Liskeard.

Bus services run from Liskeard to St Cleer.

Access to the reserve is by minor roads from the A38, A30 and B3254. The car park is a quarter of a mile north of the site, near Draynes Bridge.

Golitha Falls is near the route of the Two Valleys Walk, a circular trail starting in St Neots and passes through the valleys of the River Loveny and River Fowey and the heights of Berry Down.


For more information about the reserve, to discuss school visits or volunteering opportunities, email the reserve team at

Goss Moor

Goss Moor NNR is situated in a broad relatively flat, valley basin which forms the headwaters of the River Fal. It contains areas of dry and wet heath, mire, fen and open water, and a diverse mix of wildlife habitats. These are home to some of the country’s rarest species.

Main habitats: peatland, lowland heath

Features of interest

The reserve’s range of habitats and species has resulted in its being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.

Some of Cornwall’s rarest vascular plants can be found on the site, such as the nationally scarce yellow centaury, marsh clubmoss, cornish moneywort and pillwort.

29 species of butterfly have been recorded at the reserve, including the marsh fritillary. There are also 18 species of dragonflies and damselflies present, including the nationally scarce small red damselfly and the variable damselfly.

Dormice reside both in the grassy open areas and in the areas dominated by willow. Otters are nocturnal visitors, as are roe deer, which can be seen at dawn and dusk as they venture out to graze.

The River Fal and associated wetlands support populations of eel and brook lamprey. Over 70 species of birds breed on the site, with others arriving on the reserve to spend winter. These include bittern, great grey shrike and hen harrier.

See the Goss Moor trail information guide and welcome map for more information.


The nearest train stations are in St Columb Road and Roche.

Bus services run close to the reserve from St Austell to Newquay and from St Columb Major to Bodmin. See the Traveline SW website for details.

The reserve is mid-way between the towns of St Dennis and Roche. The A30 runs to the north of the reserve. There is a car park near the junction between A30 and the B3274. Voluntary car parking charges can be paid in advance or on the day using the RingGo app.


For more information about the reserve, to discuss school visits or volunteering opportunities, contact the reserve team by telephone on 01726 824704 or email

The Lizard

The Lizard NNR is a complex of a number of isolated sites on a peninsula in Cornwall.

Main habitats: coastal grasslands and heaths and inland heaths

Features of interest

The Lizard peninsula, near Helston in Cornwall, covers 15,000 hectares and is the most southerly part of the British mainland and over 250 species of national or international importance are found here.

Wildlife highlights include the red-billed chough, whose call is usually heard before the bird is seen, swathes of cliff-top wildflowers in spring and colourful heath flora in summer.

There is limited wheelchair access to the reserve apart from a 1 kilometre level surfaced path at Goonhilly. The reserve is open access, with many statutory and permissive bridleways. Paths can become very boggy in the winter and in wet summers.

See the site visitor leaflet for more details.

See also the Linking the Lizard website which is a partnership between Natural England, the National Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, NFU and Exeter/Falmouth Universities.


The nearest train station is Falmouth, approximately 25 kilometres from the tip of the peninsula (Lizard Point).

There is a bus link from Redruth station (on the mainline route to Penzance) to Helston - 15 kilometres from Lizard Point. Information on local bus services is available from the Cornwall County Council website

The Lizard peninsula is accessed via the A3083 (from the A394) and the B3293. Voluntary car parking charges can be paid in advance or on the day using the RingGo app.

The South West Coastal Path continues around the perimeter of the whole peninsula giving excellent access to parts of the NNR.


The reserve has an active group of volunteers and always welcomes new members. Please contact or for details.


For more information about the reserve or to discuss school visits contact the reserve team on telephone 01326 240 808 or at:

Lizard NNR
Higher Bochym
Rural Workshops
Cury Cross Lanes
TR12 7AZ