Living Dartmoor - National Park Level

Living Dartmoor - National Park Level

Key Wildlife Areas and Species for Conservation

Key Wildlife Areas

Key Wildlife Areas (KWAs) have been derived from the South West Nature Map, using local knowledge. The boundaries of KWAs should not be viewed as sharp lines - they contain adjacent areas which may have potential for expansion of the key habitat as well as existing habitats and ideally, would grade into the surrounding landscape. They should be used as a guide to inform site specific management decisions with the potential to improve the key habitat. KWAs should provide the main emphasis of landscape conservation efforts within the National Park. They cover just over two thirds of the Dartmoor national park area.

View the map of Dartmoor Key Wildlife areas

Moorland Key Wildlife Areas

Woodland Key Wildlife Areas

Dry Grassland Key Wildlife Areas

Rhôs Pasture Key Wildlife Areas

Wider countryside habitats

Flagship Species are familiar and relatively widespread species of each Key Wildlife Area. They have been chosen to represent the importance and value of the habitats which support them.

Key Wildlife Area

Flagship species


Skylark, Snipe


Pied Flycatcher

Dry Grassland

Greater Butterfly Orchid

Rhos pasture

Marsh Fritillary, Willow Tit

Wider countryside habitats:

Rivers and other water bodies
Hedgerows, stone walls and road verges
Rocky outcrops, quarries and caves

Otter, Salmon


Greater Horseshoe Bat

Key Species for Conservation

It is clearly not possible to focus detailed conservation work on the whole variety of wildlife for which Dartmoor is important. The species listed below are of particular value and are unlikely to survive in the National Park without specific action to maintain the species, or the habitat(s) on which the species depends.

Delivery Plans have been written for each of the Key Species for Conservation

These delivery plans can be downloaded from the links in the table below.

Key Species

Dartmoor Importance

Conservation Value

Greater Horseshoe Bat

Holds one of the largest  breeding sites in Europe

European protected species; rapid national decline


The most southerly breeding population in the world

High conservation concern

Ring Ouzel

The only breeding population in southern England

High conservation concern; National decline

Southern Damselfly

3 of the 5 Devon colonies

Globally threatened; European protected species

Marsh Fritillary Butterfly

One of the national strongholds

Globally threatened;  European protected species; national decline

* Pearl-Bordered and High Brown Fritillary Butterflies

National strongholds for both species

Both of high conservation priority; Rapid national decline

Blue Ground Beetle

Holds most of the British population

Nationally near threatened

Bog Hoverfly

Holds all of the British population

Nationally vulnerable

Deptford Pink

The largest British colony

Nationally vulnerable

Vigur's Eyebright

Only found on Dartmoor and a few Cornish sites


Flax-leaved St John's Wort

Holds most of the British population

Nationally near threatened

* The Pearl-bordered and High brown fritillaries have been included together has they mostly occur on the same sites and require similar habitat management.

More detail about how Key Wildlife Areas and Key Species for Conservation were selected can be downloaded in the full original text of Living Dartmoor (PDF).