|The Wetland area was created in 1991/2 as part of the Wetlands Project.
The area combines several different
types of valuable freshwater habitat. These consist of an area with varying depths of
water and a transition from still water to swamp, then marsh and
then wet woodland.
Prior to this the area had been a small boating lake which was established in about
1830 by the victorian cleric, Dr Copleston.
By the time the restoration project took place the lake had completely silted up and
rhododendron had become established. The dam wall had also been breached. Following
clearance of rhododendron, the dam was repaired. The
Wetland is fed by a stream entering from the north. The height of
the dam was carefully engineered so that a transition was created from open water to dry
land. Immediately by the dam spillway open water exists.
These transition areas are particularly valuable for wildlife. Different plant species
colonize the different depths of water and each supports a different range of
animals. This means that wetland is a very rich habitat supporting a large variety
of unique plant and animal life.
Wetlands have largely disappeared across much of Britain due to the draining of
agricultural land. Remaining wetlands such as this one are at a premium. Part of the
Wetland is at a depth of 600mm, ideal for the thousands of toads which come here to breed
every spring. Shallower areas of 300mm are more suitable for the breeding frogs
which also visit in spring time. The Centre is a major amphibian breeding site which
has been featured on the BBC and Network Television on several occasions. More about
However the wetland areas are not only important for amphibians. Many plant and animal
species are associated with wetlands. Inumerable different invertebrates from water
fleas, to mayfly larvae and waterboatmen, live in the open water of the wetlands. The
larvae of many species of dragonfly and damselfly also live in the clean freshwater of the
wetland, feeding on the abundant invertebrate life.
The Centre is regionally important as a breeding site for dragonflies. The Ruddy Darter
which breeds at the Centre is known to breed at only one other locality in Devon. Nineteen
species of dragonfly and damselfly have been recorded at the Centre. In summer, some of
the larvae will crawl up plant stems until they are out of the water, emerging many hours
later as spectacular flying insects. They may then be seen hunting and catching
insect life in the air over and around the wetland.
Many hundreds more invertebrates live amongst or on the emergent vegetation. Willows
alone can support more than 400 different insect species. This provides an abundance of
food for many birds of the Wetland, as well as those from neighbouring habitats.
Acess information about wetland restoration and a detailed ecological survey here.