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Cornwall Marine Directory

Cornwall and nature

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CORNWALL has a vast range of wildlife habitats making it an important refuge for animals and plants both on and off the water. Whether you are on holiday in Cornwall or lucky enough to live here, a little time taken exploring the natural beauty of the area will give you a good chance of seeing some interesting flora and fauna.

The peninsula is popular with bird lovers wanting to see rare varieties and interesting species. Bird life in Cornwall ranges from the herons and cormorants that make their homes in sheltered tidal estuaries to the migratory birds that drop in while commuting between other climes.

One particular rarity which, until recently has not been found in Cornwall, is the chough. The chough is so closely related to Cornwall that it appears on the county's coat of arms but sadly in recent years it had been all but extinct here. Thanks to the hard work of conservationists the bird has now made a welcome return with a breeding pair successfully making their home in craggy cliffs near Southerly Point on the Lizard.

Cornwall's naturally mild climate with many sheltered nooks and valleys has also inspired the creation of some of Britain's most notable gardens. You will find the amazing gardens of Trelissick, Trebah and Glendurgan all open to the public and well worth a visit, check out for more info. As well as the established gardens, there are newer gardens to the public scene like Pine Lodge near St Austell and the South Africa inspired Bonython on the Lizard. The problem with Cornwall if you are a garden lover is that you may just not have enough time to see all you want to.

The National Trust owns, manages and safeguards 35 per cent of Cornwall's fabled coastline including such prominent beauty spots as Godrevy and Kynance as well as small harbours such as Mullion. The trust puts in a lot of work maintaining trails which is handy because a great way of seeing Cornwall is to take a stroll along a section of the coastal path. For the committed, the path makes it possible to walk the entire waterline of the county without letting go of that mesmerising sea view. On your way around, you'll discover some genuine treasures including the visual delights of Cape Cornwall and Porthcurno.

You may also appreciate that Cornwall has some of the most interesting and varied geology in the British Isles. This, combined with its complicated mining history, means it contains a number of historically important sites as well as such natural wonders as the submerged petrified forest that can be seen at Maenporth beach at extremely low tides. Use the search box to find businesses offering a wealth of nature tour opportunities on and off the water.

Committed nature lovers may also want to take part in a beach clean event which focuses volunteers on this worthwhile task. See for more details of how to get involved.

The Fal estuary is a "Special Area of Conservation" - the highest safeguarding of any natural environment within Europe. Its waters see regular visits by the world's second biggest fish, the basking shark as well as forests of pink corals and walls of brightly coloured jewel anemones. If that's not enough, there are several hundred dolphin sightings around Cornwall's coast each year so, if you come here to see the marine life, don't forget your binoculars.
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