Bryophytes at Noonvares

Heather at Noonvares

This site is one of seven that make up the West Cornwall byophytes Sites of Special Scientific Interest. It is special for its rare bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) which are adapted to growing on copper-rich substrates.

Through a Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England, we manage the site sensitively to protect the rare bryophytes and heathland.

Bryophytes grow very well in areas with high levels of copper. As a result of the spoil tips’ toxic nature, these locations support little more than a mat of low-growing bryophytes and, in some places, lichens. These occupy relatively small areas within a more generally scrubby vegetation. The rangers have been removing gorse, cotoneaster and small pine to prevent them shading out or growing over the areas that are important for bryophytes.