South Pennine Moors

Site details

UK map showing location of South Pennine Moors Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of South Pennine Moors 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
The site is representative of upland dry heath at the southern end of the Pennine range, the habitat’s most south-easterly upland location in the UK. Dry heath covers extensive areas, occupies the lower slopes of the moors on mineral soils or where peat is thin, and occurs in transitions to acid grassland, wet heath and 7130 blanket bogs. The upland heath of the South Pennines is strongly dominated by heather Calluna vulgaris. Its main NVC types are H9 Calluna vulgarisDeschampsia flexuosa heath and H12 Calluna vulgarisVaccinium myrtillus heath. More rarely H8 Calluna vulgarisUlex gallii heath and H10 Calluna vulgarisErica cinerea heath are found. On the higher, more exposed ground H18 Vaccinium myrtillusDeschampsia flexuosa heath becomes more prominent. In the cloughs, or valleys, which extend into the heather moorlands, a greater mix of dwarf shrubs can be found together with more lichens and mosses. The moors support a rich invertebrate fauna, especially moths, and important bird assemblages.
7130 Blanket bogs (* if active bog)  * Priority feature
This site represents blanket bog in the south Pennines, the most south-easterly occurrence of the habitat in Europe. The bog vegetation communities are botanically poor. Hare’s-tail cottongrass Eriophorum vaginatum is often overwhelmingly dominant and the usual bog-building Sphagnum mosses are scarce. Where the blanket peats are slightly drier, heather Calluna vulgaris, crowberry Empetrum nigrum and bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus become more prominent. The uncommon cloudberry Rubus chamaemorus is locally abundant in bog vegetation. Bog pools provide diversity and are often characterised by common cottongrass E. angustifolium. Substantial areas of the bog surface are eroding, and there are extensive areas of bare peat. In some areas erosion may be a natural process reflecting the great age (9000 years) of the south Pennine peats.
91A0 Old sessile oak woods with Ilex and Blechnum in the British Isles
Around the fringes of the upland heath and bog of the south Pennines are blocks of old sessile oak woods, usually on slopes. These tend to be dryer than those further north and west, such that the bryophyte communities are less developed (although this lowered diversity may in some instances have been exaggerated by the effects of 19th century air pollution). Other components of the ground flora such as grasses, dwarf shrubs and ferns are common. Small areas of alder woodland along stream-sides add to the overall richness of the woods.

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

4010 Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix
7140 Transition mires and quaking bogs

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

Not applicable.

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

Not applicable.

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