Invasive Plant Control
The Tamar Valley AONB is a key partner in the Tamar Invasives Group, created to control invasive plants in the Tamar river corridor. There are three main villains in vegetative terms – Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam. All are spreading in our increasingly lush local climate and threatening valuable habitats on the water’s edge as well as shading out other plants and causing bank erosion. Controlling these plants is really a responsibility of the landowner but often people feel at a loss to know what to do. We use contractors to survey the locations of plants then treat the worst infestations, we treat all Giant Hogweed sites and the Knotweed sites that are likely to have the most impact. We visit or contact all 85 landowners on the worst affected parts of the river and help them to understand the problems and find safe ways to tackle the issue. In some cases we can help landowners to draw down grant aid to assist in the battle.
Leaflets are available from the Tamar Valley Centre describing the plants and safe methods of control, or we will be happy to mail them out to landowners. Don’t hesitate to contact us on 01822 835030 or by email here.
The Tamar Invasive Group is a partnership of 4 organisations committed to controlling Invasive plants in the Tamar Valley – Tamar Valley AONB, Environment Agency, Natural England and Cornwall Council.
Tamar Valley Heath Fritillary Project
The Heath Fritillary is one of Britain’s rarest butterflies; it only exists in a handful of sites in southern Britain. There has been a colony in the Tamar Valley for many years but numbers of butterflies have reduced following changes in woodland management. The Heath Fritillary relies on a system of coppice management of old oak woodlands to maintain its preferred habitat of open sunny sites within woodlands. It is only on the wing in mid-late summer, for a few weeks, and on sunny days, so is hard to see!
In 2004 a decision was taken by a partnership of concerned organisations and landowners to try to retain the butterfly at its original sites in the valley by some intensive habitat management. This led to several years of work at Greenscombe and Deer Park Woods in Cornwall, and the successful reintroduction of the butterfly to Greenscombe from a thriving population at Lydford. Since 2005 work has been undertaken at Blanchdown Woods under the
Tamar Valley Mining Heritage Project to improve the habitat for the Heath Fritillary on another of its former sites.
This project is a partnership project with the Tamar Valley AONB, Natural England, Butterfly Conservation – staff and volunteers, and local landowners including the Duchy of Cornwall and the Tavistock Woodlands Estate.
The wildlife value of traditional orchards has now been recognized and Tamar Valley AONB has been working with the Peoples Trust in Endangered Species to carry out a comprehensive survey of all of the traditional orchards in the AONB.
Over the space of 6 months 7 volunteers have visited a total of 155 orchards gathering basic information. Though many orchards have gone, it is encouraging that many orchards have been replanted by enthusiastic owners. For more information click here.
In spring 2010 a group of volunteers helped us to survey the sites of river quays, past and present. The aim of the work was to gather information on the state of the publically accessible quays on the tidal Tamar, Tavy and Lynher so that in the future we could look to support work to conserve and enhance river access. The results of this work will be published and made available in 2012. Watch this space!