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Special Areas of Conservation

Wye Valley Woodlands/ Coetiroedd Dyffryn Gwy

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England/Wales
Unitary Authority Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, West Wales and The Valleys
Centroid* ST530957
Latitude 51.65777778
Longitude -2.678611111
SAC EU Code UK0012727
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 913.32
* 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 Wye Valley Woodlands/ Coetiroedd Dyffryn Gwy SAC

General site character

  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (10%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (0.2%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (87%)
  • Coniferous woodland (0.7%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (0.6%)
  • Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (1.5%)

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

  • The Wye Valley contains abundant and near-continuous semi-natural woodland along the gorge. Beech stands occur as part of a mosaic with a wide range of other woodland types, and represent the western range of Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests. Such a variety of woodland types is rare within the UK. In places lime Tilia sp., elm Ulmus sp. and oak Quercus sp. share dominance with the beech. Structurally the woods include old coppice, pollards and high forest types. Lady Park Wood, one of the component sites, is an outstanding example of near-natural old-growth structure in mixed broad-leaved woodland, and has been the subject of detailed long-term monitoring studies.

  • The woods of the lower Wye Valley on the border of south Wales and England form one of the most important areas for woodland conservation in the UK and provide the most extensive examples of Tilio-Acerion forest in the west of its range. A wide range of ecological variation is associated with slope, aspect and landform. The woodland occurs here as a mosaic with other types, including beech Fagus sylvatica and pedunculate oak Quercus robur stands. Uncommon trees, including large-leaved lime Tilia platyphyllos and rare whitebeams such as Sorbus porrigentiformis and S. rupicola are found here, as well as locally uncommon herbs, including wood barley Hordelymus europaeus, stinking hellebore Helleborus foetidus, narrow-leaved bitter-cress Cardamine impatiens and wood fescue Festuca altissima.

  • 91J0 Taxus baccata woods of the British Isles  * Priority feature

    Wye Valley is representative of yew Taxus baccata woods in the south-west of the habitat’s range. It lies on the southern Carboniferous limestone, and yew occurs both as an understorey to other woodland trees and as major yew-dominated groves, particularly on the more stony slopes and crags.

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

  • Not Applicable

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

  • Not Applicable

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

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