This reserve is contained within a large triangular enclosure which forms part of a steep-sided valley. The site has many springs, so a large part of the land is waterlogged for much of the year. It is a mosaic of culm grassland and woodland, crisscrossed with rides and paths.
Habitat type: Culm grassland and woodland
Size of reserve: 5 hectares / 11 acres
OS map number: 126
Grid reference: SS 256 096 (stile on northern boundary)
Best time to visit: All year
On the B3254, 1.5 miles (2.2 km) south of Kilkhampton, is a turning to Hessaford. From a small car park on the left, a little way along this road, is a way marked footpath leading to the reserve.
There is limited parking, a boardwalk and a way marked track that can be uneven in places and also muddy when wet.
Characteristic wildlife of this reserve
The marbled white butterfly has been in decline in recent years, but can be seen here from late June through to August. Long grass, particularly red fescue, provides a sympathetic habitat for these attractive butterflies.
The willow tit is a scarce bird in Cornwall and a speciality of the culm, more or less restricted to wet willow woodlands. With their uniform grey-brown plumage, black cap and bib, they look very much like the more widespread marsh tit. One of the best ways to separate the two is from the very harsh nasal call of the willow tit.
The culm grassland contains the pretty, blue-flowered devil’s-bit scabious, an essential food plant for the larvae of the rare marsh fritillary butterfly. The Trust is conducting a survey organised by Natural England and Butterfly Conservation, to monitor the presence of this butterfly by counting the number of larval webs found on the devil’s-bit scabious.
The reserve was purchased in 1993 with a grant from Christopher Cadbury.
The name Lewdon first appears in documents dated back to 1548 and the reference to ‘down’ indicates that it was once part of a larger area of open grazing land.
Read more on the Cornwall Wildlife Trust website…