Statutory designations of the Helford
There are a number of statutory designations covering the habitats of the Helford.
The shore around Rosemullion Head was one of the first intertidal Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) to be designated by English Nature (now Natural England). This was followed by much of the intertidal area within the estuary complex. Merthen Wood is also a SSSI.
The whole Helford River system falls locally into a Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is identified by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust as a Cornwall Nature Conservation Site within Kerrier District.
The estuary also falls within the Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation (SAC), part of a network of European designations set up to protect biodiversity.
The Helford River holds within it a number of the key habitats responsible for this designation, including:
- sandbanks which are slightly covered by seawater all the time
- mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide
- rocky shores (a sub-feature of reef habitat)
- seagrass beds (a sub-feature of sandbanks)