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Special Areas of Conservation

South Hams

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England
Unitary Authority Devon
Centroid* SX942565
Latitude 50.39833333
Longitude -3.489166667
SAC EU Code UK0012650
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 126.87
* This is the approximate central point of the SAC. In the case of large, linear or composite sites, this may not represent the location where a feature occurs within the SAC.
Location of South Hams SAC

General site character

  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (2%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (5%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (10%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (10%)
  • Improved grassland (10%)
  • Other arable land (5%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (25%)
  • Coniferous woodland (5%)
  • Mixed woodland (10%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (3%)
  • Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (15%)

Download the Standard Data Form for this site (PDF <100kb)

Note When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Although this site is important for its extensive limestone grasslands, some areas on the plateau support dry heath characteristic of acid soils. Both H7 Calluna vulgarisScilla verna and H8 Calluna vulgarisUlex gallii heaths are represented.

  • The Devonian limestone headland and cliffs of the Torbay area of south Devon support a large area of the rare CG1 Festuca ovinaCarlina vulgaris grassland, including the Scilla autumnalisEuphorbia portlandica sub-community, known from no other site in the UK. The site is exceptional in that it supports a number of rare and scarce vascular plants typical of the oceanic southern temperate and Mediterranean-Atlantic elements of the British flora. These include Portland spurge Euphorbia portlandica, rock stonecrop Sedum forsterianum, autumn squill Scilla autumnalis and small hare’s-ear Bupleurum baldense. Semi-natural grassland gives way to 4030 European dry heaths on flatter slopes above the cliffs in some areas.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • 1304 Greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum

    South Hams in south-west England is thought to hold the largest population of greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum in the UK, and is the only one containing more than 1,000 adult bats (31% of the UK species population). It contains the largest known maternity roost in the UK and possibly in Europe. As the site contains both maternity and hibernation sites it demonstrates good conservation of the features required for survival.

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

  • Not Applicable

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.