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County Wildlife Site Project

Around a third of Dartmoor’s habitats are of national or international importance for wildlife, be it because of their important habitats, or because of populations of rare and declining species. However, it was recognised that Dartmoor also has habitats that might not be of national importance, but that nonetheless are of high wildlife interest.

HaymeadowSo, in 2009, over 150 County Wildlife Sites were designated on Dartmoor. In the main, these were species-rich haymeadows, wet rush pastures, and ancient and wet woodlands. This project was part of a Devon-wide initiative, coordinated by the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre (external site, opens new window) to provide recognition to important wildlife habitats that had so far not been recognised. Furthermore, a rolling monitoring programme of all County Wildlife Sites was to ensure that we know more about the state of Devon’s wildlife, and can provide advice to landowners on the wildlife interest and most suitable management of their land. 

Their habitat condition of sites on Dartmoor is monitored by the ecologists of the National Park Authority, in partnership with land management advisors from Natural England (external site, opens new window). We are aiming to have monitored all the parcels within a 20-year cycle. This sounds like a long time, but there are a lot of sites to be visited! So far, just under 40 sites have been visited. The majority (>80%) have been in good condition for wildlife, and have maintained their interest. All the results were shared with the landowners, and recommendations on improving the management, where needed, were made.

All habitat condition results were furthermore shared with the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre (external site, opens new window) to help them gather their picture on the state of Devon’s wildlife.



Page last updated: 25 Nov 2011
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