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October 27, 2022 - In Consultation Items

Landscape & Natural Environment

Marhamchurch is a rural parish in North Cornwall. It straddles the A39 Atlantic Highway and extends in the West to the Atlantic Ocean and in the East to Bridgerule. The village itself lies in the heart of the parish 1 mile inland to the South-West of Bude.

The landscape ranges from sandy beaches, rocky coves and towering cliffs to farmland with hills, valleys and broadleaf woodlands. There are many Cornish hedges (stone faced banks) which are not only a heritage asset but are a haven for wild flowers, small mammals, birds and insects.

The Rivers Neet and Strat run through the Parish merging at Helebridge. The village lies on the old Bude Canal and parts of the canal basin and incline planes are still clearly visible. Parts of the old Bude railway line remain, and the impressive viaduct is clearly visible from the road at Trelay. Permanent pasture river meadows run from Sharlands up towards the viaduct. At Whalesborough the weir separates the River Neet or Strat from the Bude Canal.

Provision has been made at Whalesborough for wildlife with a large lake frequented by many waterfowl such as geese, ducks and cormorants. The areas around the canal and river have many reed beds which provide nesting for reed-warblers and other birds, as well as refuge for ducklings, moorhen chicks and other wildlife. Kingfishers and herons are frequently seen. The Cornwall Wildlife Trust carry out surveys in this area and water voles are present and active. The woodland areas are a haven for birds from thrushes and woodpeckers to tits and corvids and provide nest sites for buzzards. The beaches team with wildlife – crabs, molluscs, sea-weeds and the cliffs provide nest sites for sea birds and sand martins. Atop the cliffs the rough areas and field are used as nesting sites by skylarks. An increase in farmland planting of wildflowers will offer vital nectar sources to pollinators, which in turn will lead to an increase in birdlife and general benefit to the environment.

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