The South Western Coast from The Lizard to Marazion and Helford River, an area that covers the Lizard Peninsula,
is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) containing some of Britain's finest coastal scenery.
Mullion is on the western side of the Lizard facing across Mount's Bay to the open Atlantic Ocean.
In total the Cornish AONB consists of twelve separate geographical areas.
These areas include ten stretches of Cornish coastline, the Camel Estuary and Bodmin Moor.
They are diverse and distinct in their character but have all been chosen for their special qualities.
Important Plant Area (IPA)
The Lizard has been designated as an Important Plant Area (IPA), an area of landscape that has been identified as being
of the highest botanical importance.
The Lizard is characterised by tracts of internationally important heathland and grassland,
and an extensive coastline providing cliffs, sand dunes and intertidal habitats.
The coast supports maritime heath and grassland whereas inland, large areas of lowland
heathland are interspersed with unimproved grassland and cultivated farmland. Almost all the
heathland, wetland and unimproved grassland lie over igneous rocks in the south of the
The range of semi-natural habitats on The Lizard supports a high diversity of plants and
animals. Over 250 species of national or international conservation importance are to be
found here, many of which are restricted to The Lizard, to Cornwall, or to the
south-west of England.
The Lizard is recognised as being of outstanding conservation importance for plants.
It is home to nearly 75 nationally rare or scarce flowering plants, many of which are found in
the heathland, maritime grassland, mire and cliff habitats.
Erica Vagans (Cornish Heath) is a species which, although rare in a national context, is locally abundant on the Lizard
where the unusual geology gives rise to the alkaline soils that it favours.
Lizard Juniper is an extremly rare plant, confined to the Lizard and now only found in a single valley at Gew Graze (Soapy Cove),
where a total of just 13 plants survive.
The links below provide more information on the Lizard IPA, Erica Vagans and Lizard Juniper.
The nearby coinage town of Helston was a major centre for tin during the Middle Ages, and required fuel for smelting.
This was obtained by cutting and burning turf and peat, and between the 16th and 19th
centuries by coppicing the woods around the Helford Estuary to make charcoal.
Peat was cut and burnt in "turf huts", the remains of which are scattered all over
The Lizard, to form "peat charcoal", used for smelting tin in the 14th century. Heathland turf was used
for both domestic and industrial fuel. Local landowners made fortunes by selling "rights of turbary".
The net impact of this land use was the removal of almost all the topsoil
of The Lizard heathland at some point in history.