River Catchments - MEVAGISSEY

The smallest of the River catchments to be targeted in the Cornwall Rivers Project, the Mevagissey is only 4.9 km2 in area and the river 3 km in length. Most of the land is in permanent pasture for beef and sheep grazing, with some arable being grown for home feed. Little maize is grown here due to the topography of the land. The valleys of the catchment are steep, and stretch down to the sea, where the land is difficult to farm due to the steepness of the slopes. Soil erosion is an issue here and it is difficult to provide solutions to farming such land.

Mevagissey catchment, illustrating steep valley sides

Central to the catchment is the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a popular tourist attraction featuring wooded valleys, pond systems and gardens stocked with exotic plant species. The Garden is also home to the Lobb brothers’ farm shop, a locally well-known farm shop selling fresh and mostly organic produce from nearby farms. There is also a LEAF demonstration farm in the catchment; indicating that environmental issues are high on the farming agenda here.

The majority of advice given was to do with potential field run-off and soil erosion, but on the whole, the catchment is being farmed carefully, and approximately 90% of the land has been visited by Westcountry Rivers Trust.