Caves, mines and rocky outcrops
Dartmoor’s tors, disused quarries and other rocky outcrops are important wildlife habitats as well as distinctive landscape and geological features. The rock faces are crusted with colourful lichens. Ferns (including some quite rare species) colonise cracks and crevices. Undisturbed rock faces are used by nesting ravens and birds of prey, and in summer the wheatear, with its distinctive white rump, can be seen flitting around the rock strewn slopes or ‘clitter’. Many bat species hibernate, roost and breed in the caves and mines throughout Dartmoor. The limestone caves at Buckfastleigh are home to an internationally important breeding population of greater horseshoe bats.
Some of these important geological and geomorphological sites are protected and designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest or Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS).