In February 2006 we set aside 23 acres of the farm to establish a woodland and conservation area.
The land parcels consisted of a mix of improved and semi –improved grasslands and some species rich culm grassland areas. We planted 23,000 native woodland trees and shrubs with large open rides between and a wildlife pond.
We have been busy cutting paths between the trees to provide an interesting area to walk, as well as a seating area by the pond, where you can enjoy a picnic and watch the dragonflies and damsel flies as they go about their business !
For The children (and adults !!) we also have a number of pond sipping kits you are welcome to borrow and test your skills at identifying the many species within the pond>
This area is now rich in wildlife with the range of wild flowers ensures that there is always something in bloom from early summer right through to the end of September. This supports an equally rich insect fauna: twenty six butterfly species have been recorded, including a very large and nationally important population of marsh fritillary – also marbled white, silver-washed fritillary (occasionally), common blue and purple hairstreak can be seen. Moths are more diverse still and the rather rare narrow bordered bee hawk moth has been recorded in recent years.
Dragonflies and damselflies are frequent with broad-bodied chaser, golden-ringed dragonfly, common darter and banded demoiselle being found around the wetter areas of the Bude Canal. Other easily-overlooked invertebrate groups include Red Data Book picture-wing flies, more than a dozen hoverfly species, and eleven species of snail-killing sciomyzid flies, with many more yet to be recorded.
Over 70 bird species have been recorded at Dunsdon. Breeding birds include grey heron (in a small heronry in the trees on the adjoining Nature Reserve just south of the viewing platform), buzzard, sparrowhawk, skylark, song thrush, spotted flycatcher, willow tit, reed bunting, tree pipit, willow warbler, garden warbler and grasshopper warbler. Winter visitors include snipe, short-eared owl and woodcock. Barn owls use the site frequently as a feeding ground, and may be seen roosting in the trees. Mammals present on the site include fox and badgers, and the thick hedge banks and scrubby areas also support dormice, feeding on hazel nuts and using honeysuckle as nesting material.