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Churchtown Farm Community Nature Reserve

The nature reserve has a picturesque setting between the Tamar and the Lynher estuaries at Saltash. The majority of habitat is farmland, which is now managed for wildlife and includes wetland, hay meadows, arable land and hedgerows. The two quarries are designated as County Geology Sites. It is a community nature reserve, meaning local people are involved in what happens at this wildlife haven.


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Habitat type: Grassland, estuarine mudflats, wetland, woodland disused quarries, hedgerows
Size of reserve: 61 hectares / 150 acresLocation of Churchtown Farm nature reserve
OS map number:108
Grid reference: SX 419 576 (down Wearde Road) or SX 417 582 (behind St Stephen's Church)
Best time to visit: Summer for butterflies and flowers

Directions

  1. Head east towards Plymouth on A38.
  2. Turn right at sign for Saltash.
  3. Go straight over roundabouts.
  4. At traffic lights in the right-hand lane, turn left and then right, following Callington Road.
  5. Turn right at next roundabout into Church Road.
  6. Go past Saltash College, then straight over roundabout into St Stephen’s Road.
  7. Turn left at junction, then right into Wearde Road.
  8. Nature reserve is on the right.

Viaduct seen from Churchtown Farm, photo by Alex Howie

Access
Limited roadside parking. The majority of the site is accessed via permissive footpaths and there are some public rights of way. In some areas access is restricted because of farming management. There are some hard surfaces that lead to the heart of the site, affording access to wonderful views, but many of the footpaths can be wet and slippery, with some inclines.

Characteristic wildlife of this reserve
The colourful goldfinch can be seen year round at Churchtown Farm, sometimes in large flocks. This is a small red-faced bird with rich gold patches on its wings. They benefit from the management of arable fields here which provide a valuable source of seeds for these and other farmland birds.

Redshank, photo by JB and S BottomleyThe redshank is a medium sized wader with grey-brown plumage and orangey-coloured legs and bill base. During flight, its pointed white rump and broad white trailing edge to wing make it easily recognisable. The redshank does not breed in Cornwall, but it can be seen on the estuary throughout the year excepting a few weeks in late May and most of June.

Friends of Churchtown Farm Community Nature Reserve
The Friends group is for anyone who loves this special nature reserve. The group was set up to help the local community get more involved with the nature reserve. Whether it's practical management tasks to organising walks and talks, the friends group take an active role to ensure the local community can enjoy this wonderful wildlife haven.

2010 Farmland birds appeal
In 2010 we launched an appeal to raise £3,000 to help us cultivate 12 acres of seed-bearing crops on Churchtown Farm Community Nature Reserve . The crops feed farmland birds such as goldfinch, skylark and linnet which use the nature reserve as a prime feeding spot. Thanks to our member and other supporters we raised a fantastic £3,758, smashing our target. A huge thank you to anyone who donated. We are now able to plant crops including quinoa, linseed, teasel and sunflower over two years, providing essential winter food for these species. To learn more about this project please visit the appeal information page.

Other information
Nearby is Antony House. This is one of Cornwall's finest 18th Century houses and has been the home of the Carew family for almost 600 years.

Lowhill and Forder quarries were worked in the 19th Century for hornblende dolerite, often known as green stone, an igneous rock used as roadstone. At the entrance to Lowhill Quarry, the contact between the dolerite and the Wearde sandstone can be seen.

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