Chark Moor, just to the north-west of Lostwithiel and situated close to the Red Moor SSSI, is the most easterly component of a group of sites known collectively as the Mid-Cornwall Moors.
The land is managed with help of Natural England and a local grazier, and is an integral part of the Mid-Cornwall Moors LIFE Project.
The Mid-Cornwall Moors LIFE Project is a partnership project led by Natural England that aims to improve key moorland habitats on 9 sites in central Cornwall. The key focus for this work is the marsh fritillary butterfly. Cornwall represents a stronghold for this butterfly, at both national and European levels. Through the restoration of key habitats such as moorland, wet and dry heaths, the Mid Cornwall Moors Project will also improve the circumstances for other important plant and animal species. Chark Moor supports suitable breeding habitat for the Marsh Fritillary but there is currently no breeding colony. It is hoped that this endangered butterfly will colonise the site from Red Moor in the near future.
Chark Moor supports a rich mosaic of wetland habitat types including wet heath, transitional mire communities, Molinia dominated grasslands and willow carr woodland. Deciduous woodland, scrub, running water, springs, pools and ponds provide further diversity.
The site is made up of two land parcels, and covers approximately 12ha of low-lying ground between two spurs, though only 3ha or so remains open. These remaining clearings have an interesting diversity of habitats for such a small area, and support a number of uncommon plant species and a large number of flowering plants of local interest.
The lack of any agricultural management in recent years has resulted in Chark Moor being increasingly dominated by scrub. Today, the main land parcel is managed as part of a Higher Level Stewardship Agreement with the objective of restoring and then maintaining the areas of open heathland and grassland through a mixture of scrub removal, burning and grazing management.
Due to the nature of the habitat, this is a difficult site to access. Wellington boots are essential at any time of year, and waders more appropriate outside summer months. The terrain makes it unsuitable for pleasurable walking, and great care should be taken at all times. The Gaia Trust would however be pleased to hear from you if you are interested in recording or otherwise getting involved at Chark Moor. A list of recorded species can be obtained from the Trust.
For details, or any further information on access at Chark Moor, contact Matt Edworthy on email firstname.lastname@example.org