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Helman Tor Nature Reserve (including Breney Common and Red Moor Memorial Nature Reserve)

This large wetland complex spreading from the slopes of Helman Tor is one of the wildlife gems of the County. Centuries of tin streaming here has created a landscape of hummocks and hollows, host to a patchwork of wildlife rich habitats including wet and dry heathland, acid grassland, large areas of willow and oak woodland and numerous ponds.

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Location of Helman Tor nature reserveHabitat type: Heathland. grassland, wetland, woodland and open water
Size of reserve:217 hectares / 536 acres
OS map number: 107
Grid reference: SX 062 615
Best time to visit:All year

Area of Outstanding Natural BeautyCounty Geological SiteCounty Wildlife SiteSite of Special Scientific InterestScheduled Ancient MonumentEuropean designationbirds hereflowers on sitewonderful viewsgrazing animals may be on sitebutterflies in seasoninsects herearchaeological aspectsferns on siteinformation boardwaymarked trailParking spaceDisabled access
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The section of the Wilderness Trail which uses a Public Right of Way between the north west corner of Crift and passes through Whistow and Breney Farm before linking up with the Saints Way is very muddy and impassable in places.

We recommend that for the time being this section is avoided and walkers travel to and from Crift via the Saints Way track linking Helman Tor and Crift.

DirectionsView from Helman Tor, photo by Victoria Whitehouse

The reserve is 2.5 miles (4 km) south of Bodmin, 2 miles to the north west of Lostwithiel. The nearest main line station is Bodmin Parkway. By car, access is from the A30/A391 (Innis Downs) roundabout south of Bodmin. Turn north to Lanivet and take the first right under A30 bridge. Take the first left shortly after the bridge.

For Breney Common entrance, turn right at Reperry Cross and take the left fork to Trebell Green. Go straight on at Trebell Green towards Gunwen. The entrance track is on the left after Gunwen Chapel, opposite The Barn (SX 054 610).

For Red Moor, turn right towards Fenton Pits. Continue for 1.5 miles and turn right for Tredinnickpits. Access to the reserve is via a track leading off a triangle formed by the roads in Tredinnickpits (SX 075 622). The reserve may also be reached from Helman Tor along the Saints' Way (SX 065 611).

Butterfly enthusiasts meet on Breney Common, photo by Dave ThomasAccess
Small car parks at Helman Tor and Breney Common and limited parking at Red Moor. Sections of boardwalk at both Breney and Red Moor but other paths can be uneven and slippery when wet. There is wheelchair access from the car park at Breney that leads to a pond and areas of heathland. All of the sites of Helman Tor are linked by the Wilderness Trail, a waymarked trail forming an 8 mile circuit of this fantastic nature reserve. A leaflet describing this route can be downloaded from the link to the right of this page.

Characteristic wildlife of this reserve
The marsh fritillary butterfly can be found on Breney Common and Red Moor. It is on the wing during late May and early June, and its larval webs can be seen around the leaves of its food plant devils bit scabious during September. Cattle grazing helps to maintain the habitat for this beautiful butterfly.

Sundews can be found in wet areas amongst sphagnum mosses and produce small white flowers from June to August.

Royal Fern is a distinctive and stately fern, growing up to chest height in a dense bushy clump, with the brownish fertile fronds sticking up above the rest.

Other information
Parts of the reserve were purchased with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Tubney Charitable Trust, and with donations from some of our members.

The Saints' Way crosses the reserve.

Helman Tor is a County Geological Site and there are the remains of a Neolithic hill settlement which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

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