North Pennine Moors

Site details

UK map showing location of North Pennine Moors Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of North Pennine Moors SAC/SCI/cSAC


When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

4030 European dry heaths
The North Pennine Moors (along with the North York Moors) hold much of the upland heathland of northern England. At higher altitudes and to the wetter west and north of the site complex, the heaths grade into extensive areas of 7130 blanket bogs. The most abundant heath communities are H9 Calluna vulgarisDeschampsia flexuosa heath and H12 Calluna vulgarisVaccinium myrtillus heath. There are also examples of H18 Vaccinium myrtillusDeschampsia flexuosa, H10 Calluna vulgarisErica cinerea and H21 Calluna vulgarisVaccinium myrtillusSphagnum capillifolium heaths.
5130 Juniperus communis formations on heaths or calcareous grasslands
The North Pennine Moors includes one major stand of juniper scrub in Swaledale as well as a number of small and isolated localities. The Swaledale site grades into heathland and bracken Pteridium aquilinum but the core area of juniper is of W19 Juniperus communisOxalis acetosella woodland with scattered rowan Sorbus aucuparia and birch Betula spp.
7130 Blanket bogs (* if active bog)  * Priority feature
The North Pennine Moors hold the major area of blanket bog in England. A significant proportion remains active with accumulating peat, although these areas are often bounded by sizeable zones of currently non-active bog, albeit on deep peat. The main NVC type is M19 Calluna vulgarisEriophorum vaginatum blanket mire, but there is also representation of M18 Erica tetralixSphagnum papillosum blanket mire and some western localities support M17 Scirpus cespitosusEriophorum vaginatum blanket mire. Forms of M20 Eriophorum vaginatum blanket mire predominate on many areas of non-active bog.
7220 Petrifying springs with tufa formation (Cratoneurion)  * Priority feature
The petrifying springs habitat is very localised in occurrence within the North Pennine Moors, but where it does occur it is species-rich with abundant bryophytes, sedges and herbs including bird’s-eye primrose Primula farinosa and marsh valerian Valeriana dioica.
8220 Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
Acidic rock outcrops and screes are well-scattered across the North Pennine Moors and support vegetation typical of Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation in England, including a range of lichens and bryophytes, such as Racomitrium lanuginosum, and species like stiff sedge Carex bigelowii and fir clubmoss Huperzia selago.
91A0 Old sessile oak woods with Ilex and Blechnum in the British Isles
Birk Gill Wood is an example of old sessile oak woods well to the east of the habitat’s main distribution in the UK. However, this sheltered river valley shows the characteristic rich bryophyte and lichen communities of the type under a canopy of oak, birch Betula sp. and rowan Sorbus aucuparia. The slopes are boulder-strewn, with mixtures of heather Calluna vulgaris, bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus and moss carpets in the ground flora.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

4010 Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix
6130 Calaminarian grasslands of the Violetalia calaminariae
6150 Siliceous alpine and boreal grasslands
6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
7230 Alkaline fens
8110 Siliceous scree of the montane to snow levels (Androsacetalia alpinae and Galeopsietalia ladani)
8210 Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

Not applicable.

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

1528 Marsh saxifrage  Saxifraga hirculus

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