Estuaries, Rivers and Wetlands

Cornwall's rivers and estuaries meander across much of the county, often arising high on the moorland spine of Cornwall as fast and bubbling streams before taking their leisurely path to the sea, passing farmland, towns and villages on their way. The valleys are often quiet havens for wildlife, supporting reedbeds, wet willow carr, marshes, ancient woodlands, saltmarshes and mudflats.

The north coast estuaries include the Camel, Gannel and Hayle rivers with ever-changing sand banks and channels at their mouths. On the south coast, the gentler cliffs are punctuated by the deep estuaries or drowned river valleys of the Fal, Helford, Fowey and Tamar rivers, many of which have been designated as Special Areas of Conservation for the estuarine wildlife they support.

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The larger rivers have varied and extensive catchments which can pose challenges to the water quality and wildlife they support.

Cornwall Council was designated as Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) for Cornwall under the Flood and Water Management Act (2010). This, and the Flood Risk Regulations (2009), has allocated new duties for the Council. These include publishing a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (PFRA) for Cornwall and a number of other flood risk management duties.  Information on these can be accessed from our Flood Risk Management pages.

Links to some of our partners or relevent organisations can be followed below.  These links will open in a new window.