The Falmouth Green Corridor comprises the woodlands, habitats, ecosystem and green spaces which border the Bickland Stream as it flows from its source at Kergilliack to its outlet at Swanpool Beach.
The corridor follows the stream through Tregoniggie Woodland, Prislow Woods, Swanvale Nature reserve, around Swanpool and finally to its output at Swanpool Beach. The walk can be accessed at various points, and work is still in progress with the aim to make it possible to walk the the corridor through green and natural spaces, with only small sections being on roads or through built up areas.
Tregoniggie Woodland is a popular woodland amenity area in Falmouth, much used by local residents and visitors for woodland walks, picnics, dog-walking and other recreational activities. The Bickland Stream runs through the woodland, flowing into the local nature reserve at Swanpool.
The woodland contains a variety of trees including Alder, Oak, Willow and Hazel some of which are quite ancient, with a very old Ash, known locally as the Tregoniggie Titan. Lots of wildlife have made their home here, including foxes, squirrels, voles, woodpeckers, grey wagtails and many other species.
In Spring there are drifts of daffodils, a mixture of wild and cultivated, as well as other native flowers, like the lesser Celandine and the beautiful snake’s head Fritillary, which is rarely seen growing in the wild, but happily survives here.
A volunteer group. The Friends of Tregoniggie Woodland was formed in 2013 and has been working to improve the site by arranging a whole range of events to encourage community involvement. Activities include tree planting days, path sweeping, litter-picking and cutting back of brambles. Much more is planned to manage, conserve and enhance this special amenity.
Swanvale Amenity Area
This grassed, open amenity area is mainly occupied by an informal football pitch which is well used by the local community. A drainage ditch on the eastern border feeds into the Bickland Stream which runs underneath the site. This eastern strip could provide adequate habitat for species moving through the corridor.
Prislow woods is a substantial (2.11 hectares) tract of wetland and woodland habitat bordering the stream, about halfway down the Bickland water catchment (between Swanvale amenity area and Swanvale nature reserve).
This area supports a multitude of flora and fauna and is a crucial link in the Falmouth Green Corridor.
Until recently this area had been neglected for many years with fly tipping and a considerable amount of invasive species gaining a foothold.
Since October 2018 the Prislow Woods Community Project has been constituted and with volunteers from the locality held regular work days in the woods; clearing them of waste, tackling invasive species, and reinstating the historic pathway to link up the areas above and below to allow a pathway along the entirety of the FGC.
Swanvale Nature Reserve
This reserve, less than one hectare in area, comprises mostly willow carr, which provides shelter for many small birds and mammals. Mosses and ferns thrive in the humid atmosphere of this wet woodland. The facility is managed by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, an organisation which has also been involved with other sites in the proposed green corridor.
This site is designated as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). The area was cut off by a shingle bar which formed after the last Ice Age, and a freshwater lake was created. At high spring tides, sea water rises above the culvert and flows back into Swanpool. As a result the pool is now brackish – a mixture of salty and fresh water.
Over a hundred types of bird have been seen at Swanpool; the familiar moorhen and coot are present throughout the year, together with water rail and kingfisher. A resident pair of mute swans (cob and pen) and their cygnets are a feature of the pool from which it takes its name.
The surrounding wood is home to a host of plants, in particular the brightly coloured yellow iris and the huge clumps of greater tussock sedge.
Swanpool LNR is the only location in Britain of the trembling sea-mat, a small and very primitive creature, resembling a thin layer of jelly, which looks more like a plant than an animal.
The reserve is managed by Swanpool Forum whose members include local residents, councillors, representatives of Natural England, and other community groups. The costs of maintaining the LNR are provided solely by public donations and other fundraising activities. Recently, the Forum has been registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.