Area: 29.3. hectares.
Description and Reasons for Notification:
Previously notified as Luckett Nature Reserve a part of the site is a Cornwall Trust for Nature Conservation Reserve.
Greenscoombe Wood is situated on the south bank of the River Tamar south-east of Luckett. The area consists of two south-north valleys with sides rising steeply to form a prominent dividing ridge up to 108 metres altitude. The site is underlain by slates mudstones, sandstones and limestones of Upper Devonian age, on which have developed well-drained soils.
The site is especially important as it is one of the few breeding sites in Britain for the nationally endangered heath fritillary butterfly Mellicta athalia. It also provides habitats for at least eight other lepidoptera species. Two nationally rare plant species, bladder-seed Physospermum cornubiense and toadlflax- leaved St John’s wort Hypericum linarifolium also occur here.
The habitats include a mosaic of various woodland types, including ancient semi-natural woodland, with associated species-rich rides and margins. Sessile oak Quercus petraea woodland, supporting a rich epiphytic flora, covers the central ridge and north-west area, but some of this has been underplanted with conifers. Extensive conifer plantations also occur to the west and east of the site. A small area of scrub with European gorge Ulex europaeus, bracken Pteridium aquilinum, and patches of acid grassland extends to the south-west.
The forest rides support a rich flora with patches of heather Calluna vulgaris, and bilberry Vaccinium myrtilus. Other species include bastard balm Melittis melisophyllum, yellow bartsia Parentucellia viscose, wood sage Teucrium scorodina, foxglove Digitalis purpurea, golden rod Solidago virgaurea, broom Sarothamnus scoparius and herb robert Geranium robertianum.
The woodland understorey includes hazel Corylus avellana, silver birch Betula pendula, holly Ilex aquifolum, elder Sambucus nigra, and beech Fagus sylvatica. The ground flora is dominated by bramble Rubus fruticosus and bilberry Vaccinium myrtilus. The small area of heathy acid grassland in the south-western part of the site has a particularly rich orchid flora including bird’s nest orchid Neottia nidusavis, fragrantorchid Gymnadenia conopsea, pyramidal orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis, lesser butterfly orchid Platanthera bifolia, and autumn ladies’ tresses Spranthes spiralis. The site is of particular importance for its lepidoptera species which include the nationally rare heath fritillary Mellicta athalia, marsh fritillary Euphydryas aurinia, dark green fritillary Argynnis aglaia, silver-washed fritillary Argynnis paphia, small pearl-bordered fritillary Boloria selene, pearl-bordered fritillary Boloria euphrosyne and purple hairstreak Quercusia quercus.
Two nationally scarce odonata species, banded demoiselle Agrion splendens and white-legged damselfly Platycnemis pennipes, have been recorded here, together with four other odonata species. Two molluscs with a limited distribution, copse snail Arianta ambustorum and Vitrina major also occur at Greenscombe Wood.