North Somerset and Mendip Bats

Site details

UK map showing location of North Somerset and Mendip Bats Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of North Somerset and Mendip Bats 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

6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
The Cheddar complex and Wookey Hole areas support a wide range of semi-natural habitats including semi-natural dry grasslands. The principal community present is CG2 Festuca ovina Ė Avenula pratensis grassland which occurs on rock ledges and on steep slopes with shallow limestone soil, especially in the dry valleys and gorges and on the south-facing scarp of the Mendips. The site is also important for the large number of rare plants which are associated with Carboniferous limestone habitats. These include dwarf mouse-ear Cerastium pumilum, Cheddar pink Dianthus gratianopolitanus and rock stonecrop Sedum forsterianum, which occur on rocks, screes, cliffs and in open grassland. Transitions to and mosaics with limestone heath, calcareous screes, scrub and 9180 Tilio-Acerion forests are a particular feature of the Cheddar complex part of the site.
9180 Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines  * Priority feature
The main block of Tilio-Acerion forest at Kings and Urchinís Wood has developed over limestone which outcrops in parts of the site and forms a steep scarp to the south-east. Ash Fraxinus excelsior predominates in the canopy with small-leaved lime Tilia cordata, yew Taxus baccata and elm Ulmus spp., mostly formerly coppiced, but including some pollard limes. There is a rich ground flora including lily-of-the-valley Convallaria majalis, columbine Aquilegia vulgaris, angular Solomonís-seal Polygonatum odoratum and purple gromwell Lithospermum purpureocaeruleum.

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

8310 Caves not open to the public

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

1303 Lesser horseshoe bat  Rhinolophus hipposideros
The limestone caves of the Mendips provide a range of important hibernation sites for lesser horseshoe bat Rhinolophus hipposideros and 1304 greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum.
1304 Greater horseshoe bat  Rhinolophus ferrumequinum
This site in south-west England is selected on the basis of the size of population represented (3% of the UK greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum population) and its good conservation of structure and function, having both maternity and hibernation sites. This site contains an exceptionally good range of the sites used by the population, comprising two maternity sites in lowland north Somerset and a variety of cave and mine hibernation sites in the Mendip Hills.

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.