Golitha NNR is a famous beauty spot on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor.
Main habitats: Woodland
Area: 18 ha
Site map: Nature on the Map.
Known locally as Golitha Falls, the reserve is an area of woodland occupying a steep-sided valley gorge, with the River Fowey flowing through it in a series of spectacular cascades.
View a map of this reserve: (96kb).
To view the wildflowers of the area, it is best to visit the site between April and July, however the River Fowey and the waterfalls can be enjoyed at any time of year.
The reserve is 5 km north west of Liskeard and 2 km west of the village of St Cleer.
By car, access to the reserve is via minor roads from the A38, A30 and B3254. There is a car park 0.5 km north east of the reserve near Draynes Bridge.
The reserve is near the route of the Two Valleys Walk, a circular trail that starts in the village of St Neots (4 km to the west) and takes in the valleys of the River Loveny and River Fowey, and the heights of Berry Down.
There is a camping and caravan site 1 km west of the reserve.
Although the reserve contains some areas of open meadow it consists largely of sessile oak or mixed oak and ash woodland - a relic of the ancient woodland that once covered much of the surrounding area.
Part of the site contains an old planted beech avenue. These trees are notable for the lichens festooning their upper branches, and are protected by a Tree Preservation Order. As well as lichens the reserve is notable for its diverse liverwort and moss communities. Around 50 liverwort species have been recorded at the site, together with 98 moss species, some rare.
The steep valley sides have thin soils which support plants such as greater woodrush, bilberry, hard fern, wavy-hair grass and common cow-wheat. Deeper soils support large patches of bluebells, and meadow areas are home to plants such as bugle, self-heal, white clover, common tormentil and valerian.
The local area contains many abandoned mine workings and some of these are home to bats such as the noctule, brown long-eared and lesser horseshoe.
Some 30 species of breeding birds have been recorded at the site including buzzard, dipper, nuthatch and treecreeper.
The site supports 83 moth species including the notable double lines. Local butterflies include the meadow brown, marbled white, green veined white, gatekeeper, small skipper, ringlet, speckled wood and silver-washed fritillary.
There are public toilets at the car-park near the reserve and information panels are provided for visitor information.
There are a number of well defined trails through the reserve.
The history of coppice management at Golitha goes back to at least the time of the Doomsday book. Some small-scale coppice has been re-introduced as a demonstration of the sustainable management options available to woodland owners.