South Hams

Site details

UK map showing location of South Hams Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of South Hams 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
Although this site is important for its extensive limestone grasslands, some areas on the plateau support dry heath characteristic of acid soils. Both H7 Calluna vulgarisScilla verna and H8 Calluna vulgarisUlex gallii heaths are represented.
6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
The Devonian limestone headland and cliffs of the Torbay area of south Devon support a large area of the rare CG1 Festuca ovinaCarlina vulgaris grassland, including the Scilla autumnalisEuphorbia portlandica sub-community, known from no other site in the UK. The site is exceptional in that it supports a number of rare and scarce vascular plants typical of the oceanic southern temperate and Mediterranean-Atlantic elements of the British flora. These include Portland spurge Euphorbia portlandica, rock stonecrop Sedum forsterianum, autumn squill Scilla autumnalis and small hare’s-ear Bupleurum baldense. Semi-natural grassland gives way to 4030 European dry heaths on flatter slopes above the cliffs in some areas.

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

1230 Vegetated sea cliffs of the Atlantic and Baltic Coasts
8310 Caves not open to the public
9180 Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines  * Priority feature

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

1304 Greater horseshoe bat  Rhinolophus ferrumequinum
South Hams in south-west England is thought to hold the largest population of greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum in the UK, and is the only one containing more than 1,000 adult bats (31% of the UK species population). It contains the largest known maternity roost in the UK and possibly in Europe. As the site contains both maternity and hibernation sites it demonstrates good conservation of the features required for survival.

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

Not applicable.

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.