camel and allen
Ref: B04h

Rising at 280m on Hendraburnick Down, the river Camel drains a 413km2 area between Bodmin Moor and St Breock. With an average gradient of 7m/km, it flows for approximately 40km before joining the sea near Padstow. The river Allen is a major tributary of the Camel and enters the Camel estuary just upstream of Wadebridge. The catchment is mainly made up from sandstones, slates and shales, with granite being found closer to Bodmin Moor. Historically, mining and quarrying was once an important industry with slate quarrying still occurring at Delabole, towards the top of the river Allen. Redundant coastal lead mines now form an important habitat for bats.

The upper and middle reaches of the Camel are essentially moorland, passing into woodland. Most of the land is undulating farmland, principally livestock farming, with mixed farming/rough grazing on the poorer land. Indeed, agricultural land covers approximately 93% of the catchment.

The Camel Valley is currently designated as a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and has also been attributed candidate Special

Area of Conservation (SAC) status under the EU Habitats Directive, due to the presence of otters and bullheads. Further designations include Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) status for the Camel estuary and Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) status for the Camel and Allen valleys.

River Camel downstream from Poleys Bridge A section of the middle Allen in high flow
River Camel downstream from Poleys Bridge
A section of the middle Allen in high flow

Many species, including some rare ones, can be found in the Camel and Allen catchment including bullheads, the pearl bordered fritillary, lamprey, eels, cockles and many other red data book species. The Camel and Allen rivers have been recorded as being amongst the most productive rivers for salmon and sea trout in the South West, due to their high water quality, suitable flow regimes and appropriate habitats.