Area: 11.7 hectares.
Description and Reasons for Notification:
Brendonmoor is a fragment of a formerly extensive moorland and mire system on the Carboniferous Culm Measures of North Cornwall. The extent of such un-improved “culm grasslands” is known to have diminished by over 1/3 in the neighbouring Devon, between 1984–1989 and Brendonmoor is only one of four such sites in Cornwall where considerable losses have taken place. It lies in gently rolling farmland close to the watershed between the catchments of the rivers Ottery and Tamar, about 12 kilometres south southeast of Bude. The moor has developed on clayey soils overlying shale, mainly of the Halstow series.
The site supports a good example of the Molinia caerulea, Cirsium dissectum, Juncus acutiflorus, Erica tetralix fen meadow community.
Vegetation ranges across the site from communities dominated by purple moor grass Molinia caerulea, with abundant compact rush Juncus conglomeratus to areas supporting herb rich vegetation including sedges Carex panicea, C.pulicaris and C.hostiana, meadow thistle Cirsium dissectum, woodrush Luzula multiflora, common tormentil Potentilla erecta, devils-bit scabious Succisa pratensis and creeping willow Salix repens. Bryophytes are also well represented including Campylium stellatum, Leucobryum glaucum, Breutelia chrysocoma, Sphagnum auriculatum and S.subnitens. The discomycete eye-lash fungus Scutellinia scutellata is present. Drier localities support heather Calluna vulgaris, western gorse Ulex gallii and the local species petty whin Genista anglica. Wetter, more acid areas are characterised by rushes Juncus spp. and sedges Carex spp. , greater birds-foot trefoil Lotus pedunculatus, cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix, bog pimpernel Anagallis tenella, bog asphodel Narthecium ossifragum, common cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium and pale butterwort Pinguicula lusitanica. The nationally scarce species wavy-leaved St. John’s wort Hypericum undulatum is also present.
A marshy soft rush Juncus effuses dominated soakway is present supporting species such as bog stichwort Stellaria uliginosa, ragged robin Lychnis flos-cuculi and meadow sweet Filipendula ulmaria.
At the western end of the site is an area of bramble Rubus spp. scrub, birch Betula sp. and alder Alnus sp. woodland which demonstrates the transition from fen to a woodland community.
A population of the marsh fritillary butterfly Eurodryas aurinia is present and in winter the wetland supports large numbers of snipe Gallinago gallinago.