Area: 7.7 hectares.
Lymsworthy Meadows is a fragment of a formerly extensive moorland and mire system on the Carboniferous Culm Measures of North Cornwall. Such agriculturally unimproved 'Culm grasslands' form a complex containing grassland, heath, mire and fen communities, several of which are nationally restricted in distribution. The extent of such sites is known to have diminished considerably in North Cornwall and neighbouring Devon and Lymsworthy Meadows is one of the few such sites remaining in Cornwall.
It lies in gently rolling farmland close to a tributary of the upper River Tamar. The site has developed on clayey soils overlying Carboniferous sandstone and shale mainly of the Hallsworth soil series.
The site supports examples of fen-meadow, rush-pasture and mire that are typical of unimproved acidic grassland overlying the Culm. Purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea is the dominant plant over much of the site with areas characterised by an abundance of meadow thistle Cirsium dissectum, devil’s-bit scabious Succisa pratensis and tormentil Potentilla erecta. On relatively well drained areas the sward supports heath spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza maculata, bitter vetch Lathyrus montanus, lesser skullcap Scutellaria minor, the dwarf shrub creeping willow Salix repens and a prominence of sedges including tawny sedge Carex hostiana and flea sedge C. pulicaris. In areas of impeded drainage a different association of species occurs with marsh lousewort Pedicularis palustris, marsh cinquefoil Potentilla palustris, marsh pennywort Hydrocotyle vulgaris and southern marsh-orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa. An oceanic, 'lusitanian' element is demonstrated by the presence of bog pimpernel Anagallis tenella and the nationally scarce wavy-leaved St. John’s-wort Hypericum undulatum. Bryophytes are well represented and include Breutelia chrysocoma, Campylium stellatum, Hylocomium splendens and Dicranum bonjeanii.
Scrub, consisting mainly of willow Salix spp. alder Alnus glutinosa and gorse Ulex europaeus occupies the periphery of the site, particularly on the eastern side. The scrub supports several herbaceous plant species including the smooth-stalked sedge Carex laevigata.
A colony of the nationally scarce marsh fritillary butterfly Eurodryas aurinia is present.