HVMCA

The Helford River is a very special place for a wide range of marine wildlife, for the people that live and work alongside it and the many visitors who enjoy its scenic beauty. Its richness was officially recognised in 1987, when the Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area was designated to help protect the diverse marine life of this beautiful estuary.

The Helford Marine Conservation Group is a voluntary organisation working to safeguard the marine life of the beautiful Helford River, to increase its biological diversity and raise awareness of its marine interest and importance.

A wide-ranging programme of exciting events gives people of all ages and abilities a chance to explore and learn more about the many facets of this very special place. Activities include seashore safaris, wildflower walks, photography days and conservation cruises.


In the mid-1980s, marine biologist, the late Dr Norman Holme, joined forces with local naturalist Stella Turk, river lovers and users, local councillors and many others to look at the Helford River and assess the need to protect it for the future. With funding through World Wildlife Fund and help from Cornwall County Council, a survey was carried out to demonstrate the state of the Helford River and make recommendations for its marine wildlife protection in a way that was compatible with the continuing human use of the river. This baseline work was soon followed by a more formal and regularly revised Strategic Guidelines and Work Programme.

The Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area was designated in 1987 to help protect and enhance the rich and varied marine life of this internationally important site.

Many people with a direct interest in the river including sailors, landowners, fishermen, councillors, students and marine biologists, and representatives of various organisations, both statutory and non-statutory, work together locally throughout the year to promote the sustainable use of this sensitive area.

Volunteer surveyors in action bird watching. Photo by Abby Crosby
Volunteer surveyors in action bird watching. Photo by Abby Crosby

The voluntary approach to the conservation of the Helford River has been upheld by an Advisory Group, the Helford Marine Conservation Group, which meets quarterly and still includes members of the original team as well as representatives of many other organisations and people linked to the river.

Our Constitution can be found here.

  • Chairman: Mr David Thomson
  • Vice-Chairman: Mrs Sue Scott
  • Treasurer: Mr Mike Biglin
  • Co-ordinator: Mrs Sue Scott
  • Scientific Advisers:
    Dr. Pam Tompsett
    Dr Paul Gainey
    Dr Angie Gall
© Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area