Lowland semi-natural grassland in the UK includes a range of
well-known habitat types. Lowland calcareous grassland is found
predominantly on chalk or limestone, whereas Lowland dry acid grasslandis
associated with acid rocks, sands or gravels, or heavily leached
soils in the upland fringes. Lowland meadows are found widely
on neutral soils, albeit often as small and isolated fragments.
Upland hay meadows are a
feature of the upland fringes of northern England and Scotland.
Poorly drained soils, particularly in the west, are home to
Purple moor grass and rush pastures,
whilst Calaminarian grassland is a
specialised habitat found on metalliferous soils, including mine
spoil and river shingles.
Semi-natural lowland grassland is one of the most evocative and
yet threatened habitats in the UK. Although grassland is widespread
in the UK lowlands, particularly in the west, the majority has been
agriculturally improved. As a result this habitat has probably lost
more plant species diversity than any other semi-natural habitat in
the UK. Surviving areas of sympathetically managed semi-natural
grassland are scare and often small and isolated from each
UK semi-natural lowland grasslands are a priority for nature
conservation. This partly relates to their steep decline and
scarcity, but also to their naturalness and intrinsic appeal and
because they provide home to a host of highly specialised plants
and animals. Accordingly, there are seven UK lowland grassland
habitat types listed under Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive
and seven lowland grassland priority habitats
listed the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
Use the following page links to find out more about UK lowland