Area: 8.0 hectares.
Description and Reasons for Notification:
This site contains examples of various wetland communities that are rare in south-west England. It is particularly notable as the last remaining site of the greater fen-sedge Cladium mariscus in Devon, for the presence of an extensive stand of bog myrtle Myrica gale, a scarce species in the county, and for certain fungus and insect species.
The site is in a valley immediately to the south of Newton Abbot, and lies over Aller Gravels crossing downslope onto clays of the Bovey Formation. The soils are peaty, with gleying to the north and north-east and podzolic soils on the southern slope. Of particular interest is the manner in which peat forms a dome on the side rather than the centre of the valley.
The vegetation is dominated by tall fen species: greater fen-sedge, common reed Phragmites australis and greater tussock-sedge Carex paniculata being abundant. Royal fern Osmunda regalis is also present. In places this community is overshadowed by birch Betula spp. and willow Salix spp. Bog mosses are frequent and include Sphagnum palustre, S. fallax, S. subnitens, S. squarrosum and S. papillosum. Towards the top of the site an area of tussocky purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea occurs in which bog myrtle is frequent, a vegetation community type known from only one other location in Devon.
There are several unusual and interesting species of fungus on the site such as Boletus junguillius, a yellow capped Boletus recorded only a few times for Britain; Armillaria ostoyae, a honey fungus normally found on conifers in Scotland; Ramariopsis crocea, a coral fungus; and the Jew’s ear Hirneola auricula-judae on ivy Hedera helix rather than its usual host elder Sambucus nigra.
Invertebrate interest includes a nationally rare cranefly Tipula selene and other nationally scarce species such as the hoverfly Criorhina floccosa, the Jersey tiger moth Euplagia quadripunctaria, the red-eyed damselfly Erythromma najas, the marbled white Melanargia galathea and white admiral Limenitis camilla butterflies, and a money spider Meioneta mollis.