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Conservation Local Nature Reserves

Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is a statutory designation made under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 by local authorities.

LNR's are designed to be for both people and wildlife and are places with wildlife or geological features that are of local special interest.

There are over 1,280 LNRs in England alone. These range from coastal headlands, ancient woodlands and flower-rich meadows to former industrial areas now re-colonised by wildlife.

Within the Trust's management are two Local Nature Reserves:

• Lopwell Dam
• Roadford Lake (Southweek)

Lopwell Dam

Lopwell Dam is situated on the upper tidal reaches of the River Tavy just 3 miles north of Plymouth and 7 miles from Tavistock. It is an excellent site for bird watching, walking and just relaxing.

The LNR designation in October 2004 by West Devon Borough Council is 4.6 hectares. The site is of high conservation value due to the flora and fauna and associated habitats that occur here. The LNR designation includes tidal mudflats, scrub-grassland, saltmarsh and semi-natural, broadleaved woodland of ancient character.

Lopwell Dam was already designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its Saltmarsh habitat and is part of the Tamar Tavy Estuary SSSI. The estuary mudflats support internationally important populations of over-wintering wildfowl and waders and the area has been proposed as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EC Council Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds.

Other habitats on site include freshwater marsh, wildflower meadow and freshwater and estuarine. No other LNR in Devon has this unique combination of salt and freshwater habitats.

In 2011 the Trust re-opened the redundant pumphouse at Lopwell Dam it is now an interactive visitor centre with a cafe overlooking the river.

Roadford Lake

The Roadford Lake LNR at the northern end of the reservoir is 34 hectares of freshwater, swamp, marshy grassland, dense scrub willow carr, broadleaved woodland and coniferous plantations.

The LNR was designated in 2006 by West Devon Borough Council and includes Southweek Wood which has good conservation value and a wealth of features of interest. Valuable mudflats are exposed and the original stream bed which feeds the lake can be seen as water is drawn down during the summer months.

The LNR is visible from the causeway which crosses the lake and part of the reserve is accessible via a public footpath which allows access to part of the site whilst the remaining area is kept quiet for conservation purposes.

Evidence suggests that dormice were present at Roadford pre-1989 before the valley was flooded. Surveys have been carried out since 2005 and have revealed that the Roadford LNR hosts a healthy population of Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius). The Dormouse Monitoring project is detailed further on our Projects page.

Updated November 2012

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