The Bude Marshes were declared a Local Nature Reserve in 1981 by North Cornwall District Council (now Cornwall Council) and was the very first in Cornwall. It consists of 9 hectares of land, much of which is reed bed, making it one of the largest in Cornwall.
Ranked among the richest and most interesting nature reserves in Cornwall, Bude Marshes provide nine hectares of a fertile reeds and wet grassland where the visitor might see anything from otters, clusters of pretty bee orchids to a grass snake or kingfisher. The Peter Truscott Bridge was built in 2001 to give access from the canal towpath. Not only does the site provide a haven for wild plants and animals, including some rare and unusualspecies, it is also part of the Bude Flood Prevention Scheme.
This water-logged area is actually the result of the building of the Bude Canal and then the railway, which effectively blocked off the valley. The marsh provides shelter for a rich diversity of wildlife. Spring brings early migratory birds such as Chiffchaffs, Sedge Warblers and Sand Martins. The Yellow Crosswort, a plant rarely seen in Cornwall, can be found here too.
In Summer , reed buntings and Willow Warblers nest, whilst Purple Loosestrife, Flag Iris, Rosebay Willowherb and scented Meadowsweet gives the marshes a splash of colour.
Autumn sees the return of the first over-wintering migrants, birds such as Wood Sandpiper. Surprisingly, winter is when the reserve is at its most interesting. Numerous Snipe, Teal, Widgeon and Moorhens can be seen along with the secretive Water Rail feeding along the dykes.
If you are lucky enough to see something special, or even get a picture of it, please pop into the Tourist Information Centre and share your discovery with us on Facebook or Twitter. Our wildlife information notice board is a great way to share recent sightings and compare notes with fellow spotters.