Orton Pit

Site details

UK map showing location of Orton Pit Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of Orton Pit 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

3140 Hard oligo-mesotrophic waters with benthic vegetation of Chara spp.
Orton Pitís extensive pond system, occupying the disused ridge-and-furrow created as a result of clay extraction for the brick-making industry, contains alkaline water low in nutrients. The site supports a total of ten species of charophyte including the main English population of bearded stonewort Chara canescens. C. canescens is an early coloniser of ponds at the site and is rarely found in ponds over 20 years old. It favours brackish conditions, which at Orton Pit are thought to be provided by the release of salts out of the top few millimetres of the clay that becomes oxidised over a period of time. Other nationally scarce stonewort species present include Chara aspera, C. contraria, C. pedunculata and Tolypella glomerata. The distribution of Chara species across the site varies according to the age and stage of succession of the ponds, with few being found in ponds greater than 25 years old.

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

Not applicable.

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

1166 Great crested newt  Triturus cristatus
Orton Pit in the East Midlands contains the largest known population of great crested newt Triturus cristatus in the UK and possibly in Europe. The extensive pond systems occupy disused ridge and furrow areas created by clay workings, at various successional stages. Management of water levels and predatory fish is essential for the maintenance of the newt population. New ponds are created in ways that allow water control, and measures are taken to encourage rapid colonisation by newts in order to maintain the population. The range of habitats found throughout the site, including surrounding areas of grassland and scrub, provide good conditions for feeding and sheltering newts.

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

Not applicable.

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