Area: 50.4 hectares.
Description and Reasons for Notification:
Boconnoc park and Woods is located approximately 4 km east of Lostwithiel in central Cornwall. The site lies within the enclosed parkland and woodland of the Boconnoc Estate, in the sheltered upper valley of the River Lerryn. The site incorporates Colliershill Wood, the wooded area of the Deer Park, the Lake and adjacent Willow carr, plus other isolated stands of trees within agricultural land.
Boconnoc is underlain by Meadfoot Beds of Lower Devonian age. These consist of calcareous slates and grits, which give rise to well-drained fine loamy or fine sitly soils; with deposits of alluvium in the stream valleys.
The enclosed parkland and woodland at Boconnoc is of international importance for its particularly rich and diverse lichen flora. Some 188 species of epiphytic lichens have been recorded here; the largest recorded number for any site of comparable size in Western Europe. Boconnoc Park and Woods are especially rich is Lobaria-and Usnea-type lichens. The lichen flora includes 52 old forest species. While 21 of the 188 recorded lichen species are national rarities, Boconnoc is the only known British site for Porina hibernica. In addition Arthonia leucopellaea, Pannaria mediterranea and Lecanactis corticola have only been recorded from a few other British sites. Other nationally rare lichen species include Lithographa dendrographa, Parmelia borreri, Lecanora jamesii, Arthonia stellaris, Biatorella ochrophora, and Ochrolechia inversa. A further 31 species are ancient woodland indicators and are locally rare. Several of these rare lichen species have been recorded from single trees within Boconnoc Park, which benefits from the high rainfall, humidity and light intensity which occurs within the parkland and woodland glades.
The Estate has a long tradition of deer park managament, some of the trees in the park being over 300 years old thereby promoting the continued growth of the rare lichen species.
The Deer Park is dominated by beech Fagus sylvatica, with abundant oak Quercus sp and a sparse understorey. The groundcover is dominated by bracken. Ash Fraxinus excelsior is more abundant on the fringes of the wet tributary valley, on the north side of the Deer Park where tussock sedge Carex pendiculata occurs. These ash trees and the dense willow Salix sp carr around the Lake are of particular importance for some of the rare lichens, as are the isolated clumps of oak, ash and sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus to the west of south of Boconnoc House.
The mixed broadleaved ancient woodland of Colliershill Wood to the north of the site supports an abundance of mature beech which is locally dominant in places, particularly to the north. Ash, sessile oak Quercus petraea, and the invasive species sycamore are also frequent, together with pedunculate oak Quercus robur, and sweet chestnut Castanea sativa. The understorey supports species such as holly Ilex aquifolium, hazel Corylus avellana, hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, elder Sambucus nigra, and rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum. Bramble Rubus fruticosus dominates much of the ground flora although one of the more interesting herb species is the uncommon woodland grass wood millett Milium effusum.
An additional interest at Boconnoc are the 9 recorded dragonfly species, most notably the broad-bodied chaser Libellula depressa and the emperor dragonfly Anax imperator.
Site notified to Secretary of State on 14 November 1986