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Swanvale Nature Reserve

The tiny Swanvale reserve comprises mostly willow carr, which provides shelter for many small birds and mammals. It is part of the larger Swanpool Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and provides an important buffer against pollutants in terms of streams entering the pool from Falmouth town.


Location of Swanvale nature reserveHabitat type
: Wet willow woodland
Size of reserve: 0.8 hectares / 1.9 acres
OS map number: 103
Grid reference: SW 800 317 (south west boundary by public footpath)
Best time to visit: All year

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Swanvale, photo by Cornwall Wildlife TrustDirections
This reserve lies just to the north east of Swanpool Local Nature Reserve (LNR) which in turn, lies to the south east of Falmouth.

Access
The woodland is inaccessible but there are good footpaths and roads with viewing points around Swan Pool and the reserve.

Characteristic wildlife of this reserve
Willow trees thrive on waterlogged soils and are commonly found on banks of streams. Natural succession leads to wetlands becoming wet woodland, potentially very diverse areas, but becoming something of a rarity. Willow may support a large number of invertebrates and this attracts a huge variety of birds.

Mosses and ferns also thrive in the humid atmosphere of this wet woodland.

Wildfowl are perhaps the most obvious birds on Swanpool, but there are others. In summer, listen for reed warblers, several pairs of which nest in the reedbed. Their song has been variously described as chatty, grumpy or jittery. In winter, watch carefully for water rail, which skulks in the waterside vegetation. It is about the size of a moorhen, with grey and brown plumage and a fine red bill.

Other information
The Swanpool Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is managed by a partnership of local authorities, residents and environmental groups. Swanpool LNR is a brackish lagoon and is the only location in Britain of the trembling sea-mat, a small and very primitive creature, resembling a thin layer of jelly, which looks more like a plant than an animal.

The reserve was purchased in 1986 with a donation from the Cornwall Birdwatching and Preservation Society.