Extent & Distribution of UK Lowland Grassland Habitats

 

The tables below give information on the extent (area covered) and distribution of lowland grassland habitats around the UK. The most extensive are purple moor grass and rush pastures and dry acid grassland, which occur mostly in lowland Wales and England. Calcareous grassland and lowland meadows are less extensive and occur mainly in the English lowlands. Upland hay meadows (which mainly adjoin the upland margins of England uplands) and Calaminarian grassland (which in the lowlands mainly occurs in England and Wales) are both scarce habitat types.

 

UK BAP habitats

 

The table below shows the estimated extent of the six lowland grassland priority habitat types recognised by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Values given are the overall total extent and percentage in each country (where available), based on information extracted from the Biodiversity Action Reporting System (BARS).

 

UK BAP priority habitats

England
(ha)

Wales
(ha)

Scotland
(ha)

Northern Ireland
(ha)

United Kingdom
(ha)

Purple moor grass and rush pastures

21,544

32,161

6,768

18,476

79,400

Lowland dry acid grassland

20,142

36,473

4,377

674

61,650

Lowland calcareous grassland

38,687

1,146

761

40,600

Lowland meadows

7,282

1,322

980

937

10,500

Upland hay meadows

870

27

900

Calaminarian grasslands
[most of this habitat in Scotland occurs in the uplands]

<200

50

[<200]

<450

 

 

EU Habitats Directive Annex I types

 

The table below shows the estimated extent of lowland grassland habitat types listed under Annex I of the EU Habitats Directive.  The data is derived from the 2013 UK Report on Implementation of the Habitats Directive).  Note that for habitats that occur in both lowlands and uplands, the area given is the total for both locations.

 

EU Habitats Directive Annex I types

(click here and follow links to see further information on each habitat)

England (ha)

Scotland (ha)

Wales(ha)

Northern Ireland (ha)

UK

(ha)

H6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies: on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (including important orchid sites)

[a small part of this habitat occurs in the uplands]

48,700

270

741

936

50,647

H6410 Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae

2,000

80

516

1,000

3,596

H6510 Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)

1,500

11

1,511

H6520 Mountain hay meadows 

1,000

50

1,050

H6130 Calaminarian grasslands of the Violetalia calaminariae 
[most of this habitat in Scotland occurs in the uplands]

200

[80]

49

329

H2330 Inland dunes with open Corynephorus and Agrostis grasslands

120

120