The Reserve comprises some 17 Acres of rough grazing and is situated at the western end of the Pottington Business Park, which forms the eastern boundary. To the south is the Tarka Trail, the western boundary is a small river, the Bradiford Water. This is a closed Reserve but is easily viewed from the Tarka Trail and the main entrance gate. The site is flat, mainly semi-improved grassland, frequently wet with clumps of sedge, rush, and grassy tussocks.
The Freehold was purchased from Devon County Council in 1999. In mitigation for the loss of reedbeds when the downstream Taw Bridge was built, DCC paid for the excavation of a Tidal Scrape, two ponds, (later planted up with Phragmites Reed,) and an additional scrape running along the Tarka Wall.
The Bradiford Water flows into the River Taw through a Tidal Gate set in the Tarka Wall. When the tide floods it closes the Gate. Bradiford Water then backs up, flowing through a breach in the riverbank and into the Tidal Scrape which fills with fresh water, allowing Gulls and Wildfowl to bathe and drink; they also tend to roost around the Scrape. As the tide runs out the Gate opens and the Scrape empties, exposing an area of mud for feeding Waders.
The pond Reedbeds and the Scrape along the Tarka wall are fed by springs which drain down into the Bradiford Water. The Reedbeds host breeding Reed and Sedge Warbler; Water Rail are present, with Snipe and other water birds in Winter. Three small fenced woodland clumps were planted up around 2010 as Otter Lay-ups. These are frequently also used by sheltering Roe Deer. Since 2019 a Trail Camera has recorded regular nightly visits from Otter, particularly during Winter. A further small woodland copse has been added adjacent to the eastern boundary hedgeline. Clumps of scrub offer cover for passerines.
The site is grazed by a neighbouring farmer with cattle from late July to the end of November, followed by sheep in January and February. The timing of grazing depends very much on weather & the condition of the land. This clears the Summer growth of grasses after the nesting season and promotes the spread of wildflowers for bees, butterflies, and other invertebrates.
Site maintenance is carried out by a group of volunteers following a policy of minimum intervention. Records are kept for all bird sightings, regular transects are walked to monitor the bee and butterfly populations.
Bradiford provides a mosaic of varied habitats for a wide array of taxa, concentrating on both migratory and Wintering Waders, Gulls, and Wildfowl, but also providing for resident and migratory breeding passerines.
Volunteer help needed occasionally – Contact Tim Smith 01273 239804