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Tamar Estuary Nature Reserve

This nature reserve, near Saltash, together with adjoining parts of the estuary, forms one of the largest areas of mudflats in the south west. A site of international importance, the estuary supports a number of wader and wildlfowl species during the winter months including avocet, greenshank teal and wigeon.

Location Tamar Estuary nature reserveHabitat type
: Tidal mudflats and salt marsh
Size of reserve: 109 hectares / 269 acres
OS map number: 108
Grid reference: SX 431 614 (Landulph section public footpath from the marsh); SX 436 627 (Cargreen)
Best time to visit: Autumn - Spring

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Tamar Estuary, photo by Cornwall Wildlife TrustThe foreshore may be reached from Cargreen village and from the car park at Landulph church. Follow the lane past the church and turn right through a gate on to a track leading to the sea wall. Cargreen and Landulph may be approached via lanes from the A388, 1.25 miles (2 km) north of Saltash.

There is a footpath that goes from Cargreen to Landulph. This may be wet and slippery at certain times of the year. There are two bird hides that may be accessed via the China Fleet Club. Call the East Cornwall Resreves Manager on 07866 430086 for more information.

Characteristic wildlife of this reserve
Shelduck are resident here, nesting during the early summer in burrows which offer a safe haven for these brightly-coloured birds whilst incubating their eggs. This species is most at home on soft mudflats, feeding by sweeping sideways with their red bills.

Kingfisher, photo by JB and S BottomleyKingfishers may sometimes be seen as a blue streak darting across the surface of the water in the sheltered inlets of the estuary. They feed on small fish which are caught when the birds dive on to them from above, either from a perch or from the air.

The estuary supports a large wintering population of avocet, easily recognisable by their pied plumage and bluish legs. They wade through the shallow water and with their delicately upturned bills, skim tiny animals from the surface layers of the water and mud. The first birds arrive in October and leave again during March.

Other information
On a winter's day, there is likely to be a number of different waders and wildfowl to be seen. As with all estuarine reserves, the tide has to be right. It is worth checking the tide times before your visit.