From the A30 / A391 roundabout (south of Bodmin) turn north to Lanivet and take the first right under the A30 bridge. Shortly after the bridge, take the first left up the hill. After ½ mile turn right at Reperry Cross and immediately take the fork left to Trebell Green. After a sharp right bend, take the left turn (between the granite posts). At the top of this road, on the left, is a rough car park.
Know before you go
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitApril to July or November to February
About the reserve
At over 700 acres spread across 5 sites, this is the largest of the Trust’s reserves.
The rugged granite of Helman Tor dominates the landscape, and from high on a clear day you can see both the Atlantic coast to the North and English Channel to the South.
Those looking for a day out exploring the rugged landscape of Cornwall will be right at home on the Wilderness Trail, an 8-mile (13 km) circuit around the heart of the reserve. The terrain can be challenging so suitable clothing and footwear is a must. Boardwalk is available in certain areas, but not the entire course of the trail.
This vast wetland complex spreads from the slopes of the Tor into a landscape of hummocks and hollows, the product of centuries of tin streaming.
And it’s this transformation by Cornwall’s industrial past that has left it as such a rich and varied habitat for wildlife. In fact, Breney Common is designated as a Special Area of Conservation — a protected European wildlife site under the Habitats Directive.
Many rare and valuable plant communities thrive here, and wildlife lovers will spot all manner of butterflies, dragonflies, birds, mammals and reptiles.
During late May and early June, the marsh fritillary butterfly can be seen around both Breney Common and Red Moor, with its larval webs showing up in September around the leaves of devil’s-bit scabious — a key food source for the species.
The mixture of scrub, woodland and hedgerows across this 700-acre nature reserve supports the rare dormice. In winter they hibernate in the leaf litter on the woodland and can even be found tucked into the occasional grassland tussock. But during summer they live almost exclusively in trees.
The areas around open water are ideal for ferns, such as the distinctive royal fern, and a haven for insects, including nationally rare aquatic beetles and the scarce blue-tailed dragonfly.
Crift is a landscape of medieval fields and Cornish hedges. Be careful where you tread, as adders, slow worms and common lizards often come out into the short grass to bask in the sun.
In the 1970s a farmer’s plough revealed the Crift Longhouse, which dates back to sometime between the 12th and 14th centuries.
As one the gems of Cornish nature, Helman Tor Reserve is a beautiful example of both Cornwall’s rich history and its wild present.