Area: 1.3 hectares.
Description and Reasons for Notification:
The site lies within the Dartmoor National Park. A new site.
Lydford Railway Ponds support an exceptionally diverse dragonfly fauna which includes a number of uncommon species.
A variety of semi-natural vegetation types has developed on disused railway land at Lydford Station. Drier areas are characterised by rough grassland dominated by coarse grasses but which also contains a wide range of meadow flowers such as yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor, bird’s-foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus, purging flax Linum catharticum and common knapweed Centaurea nigra. Wetter areas between the station platforms have developed a marsh community characterised by rushes Juncus spp., angelica Angelica sylvatica, hemp agrimony Eupatorium cannabinum, fleabane Pulicaria dysenterica, southern marsh-orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa and clumps of bog moss Sphagnum sp. The marsh contains open water pools and these together with a small disused reservoir at the north-east of the site are dominated by bog pondweed Potamogeton polygonifolius.
The site possesses a rich invertebrate fauna with an outstanding assemblage of dragonflies many of which breed on the site. Eighteen species of dragonflies have been recorded in recent years, including a number of uncommon species such as the small red damselfly Ceriagrion tenellum, the rudder darter Sympetrum sanguineum and the scarce ischnura Ischnura pumilio. The large emperor dragonfly Anax imperator has also been recorded.