Naturally Diverse

Dartmoor is home to a fantastic diversity of wildlife and habitats, much of it rare and protected. The special habitats on Dartmoor are a result of the geology of the moor and the influences of people over 4,000 years

Geology

Dartmoor’s landscape is dominated by rocks. Granite is the main rock type and can be seen in many dramatic outcrops (tors) and on boulder-strewn slopes.

The granite was formed around 280 million years ago thrusting upwards under older rocks into the area we now know as Devon and Cornwall. Over a very long time, the overlying rocks have been eroded by nature to expose the granite beneath and shape the moor we see today. These processes have produced the soils and conditions to which certain wild plants are particularly suited.

The influence of farming

Dartmoor may look like a wild landscape but it has been shaped over time by the way it has been farmed. Through a very long tradition of grazing with cattle, sheep and ponies, certain plants and habitats have thrived. Habitats such as Postbridge’s wonderful wildflower meadows exist only because of the long tradition of haymaking in the area which has favoured these species to grow.

Haymeadows

Traditional haymeadows are one of Dartmoor's richest wildlife habitats

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Woodlands

Dartmoor's woodlands are an important habitat for many species

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Wetlands

Dartmoor's bogs, mires rhos pasture and wet woodlands are internationally important

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Barbastelle bats

Find out more about some of our rarest bats.

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Moorland Birds

Find out more about Dartmoor's moorland birds

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Discover more of the Dartmoor Story

Use the Heritage Trails interactive map  to look for important wildlife areas across Dartmoor,  plan your own walk or download one of the heritage trails.

Explore Dartmoor's Top Ten places for wildlife

Meet Dartmoor's Little Five

Find out more about Dartmoor's amazing wildlife

See what other wildlife projects are being undertaken as part of the Moor than meets the eye Landscape Partnership