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Windmill Farm Nature Reserve

Windmill Farm Nature Reserve on The Lizard comprises grassland and heathland. The remainder of the reserve is made up of scrub, bog, swamp and hedgerow. Habitat creation includes the construction of two ponds and a scrape, together with arable crops for birds.

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Location of Windmill Farm nature reserve

Habitat type: Heathland, hay meadows, ponds and scrapes
Size of reserve: 75ha (185 acres)
OS map number: 103
Grid reference: SW 694 153
Best time to visit: All year

No dogs allowed on the reserveArea of Outstanding Natural BeautySite of Special Scientific InterestSchedule Ancient Monument on sitearchaeological interestlovely viewsflowers on sitebirds in seasonbutterflies can be seengrazing animals may be presentinsects can be seenfossil interestamphibians presentbird hideinformation boardinformation leaflet availableEuropean designationtrail around the reserveDisabled access
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Scrape created at Windmill Farm nature reserve, photo by Stuart Hutchings

The reserve is about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of Lizard village, with access from the Helston to Lizard road A3083. Turn right going towards Lizard village at the "Wild Camping" (not us!) sign, and follow the lane till you see the windmill.

Highland cattle on Windmill Farm nature reserve, photo by Stuart HutchingsThe site is fairly flat, with some gentle slopes and, in summer, should be generally dry. Wheelchair access will be restricted to the level pasture but even this is likely to be very bumpy. In wet weather, particularly during the winter, the ground becomes waterlogged very quickly, so wheelchair access is not feasible and visitors should wear wellies. Cattle or ponies may graze at certain times of the year, so all gates should be kept shut, unless indicated otherwise.

Characteristic wildlife of this reserve
The adult marsh fritillary may be seen on the wing from mid-April to July. The colony on the reserve is one of the few extant colonies on the Lizard. Barn owl, photo by CA PerryThe name derives from the Latin word fritillus (dice-box) because of the butterfly’s spotted markings.

The barn owl, with its heart-shaped face, is often described as ‘ghostly’ as it quietly swoops and glides in its quest for prey. Its wingspan is more than twice as long as its height. This owl normally hunts at dusk, but when chicks are demanding food, or in winter months, you may see the adults during the daytime. The barn owl does not hoot, it hisses, and fossils show that it appeared on earth around two million years ago.

The windmill, photo by Sheila McCannOther information
The site is jointly managed with the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society.

The reserve contains a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the 17th Century windmill. You will also find Bronze Age barrows and Second World War pill boxes.

The purchase of this site in 2001 was thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society and generous donations from members in a previous appeal.