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Sites of Nature Conservation Interest

Photo of Wistman's Wood

Wistman's Wood NNR

Twenty seven per cent of Dartmoor National Park has been designated under three Special Areas of Conservation (SACs): Dartmoor, South Dartmoor Woods and South Hams. SACs are strictly protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive 1994 and form a European wide network of high quality conservation sites known as Natura 2000 sites.

The Dartmoor SAC was designated principally because it is home to the southernmost blanket bog in Europe but also because of important areas of wet and dry heaths. The South Dartmoor Woods SAC displays fine examples of old sessile oak woods whilst the portion of the South Hams SAC within Dartmoor National Park contains the largest known maternity roost for Greater Horseshoe Bats in the UK. More information about SACs can be found at JNCC (external link, opens new window).

Four sites around Dartmoor are designated as National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and around 30,000 hectares of Dartmoor National Park (31% of the total area) is desigated for its wildlife or geological value in numerous Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). An explanation of these designations is available from Natural England (external link, opens new window).

In 2009, a number of areas on Dartmoor that were of county interest to wildlife were designated as County Wildlife Sites. In the main, these are areas of high quality dry unimproved species-rich grassland, species-rich rush pastures, ancient woodland and high quality wet woodland. In general, these are small parcels of land on Dartmoor's in-bye. The County Wildlife Site designation and monitoring scheme is administered by the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre on behalf of Devon County Council.

View a map of designated sites on Dartmoor
Page last updated: 21 Nov 2011
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