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Special Areas of Conservation

Morecambe Bay Pavements

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England
Unitary Authority Cumbria, Lancashire
Centroid* SD440869
Latitude 54.27444444
Longitude -2.86
SAC EU Code UK0014777
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 2607.95
* 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 Morecambe Bay Pavements SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (0.4%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (0.6%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (13.5%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (38.6%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (24.4%)
  • Coniferous woodland (2.5%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (20%)

Download the Standard Data Form for this site as submitted to Europe (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

  • Hawes Water is a lowland lake in northern England within Morecambe Bay Pavements. It is a lake on a predominantly Carboniferous limestone foundation and has a substrate of deep lacustrine shell-marl. The water is highly calcareous and the lake is fed by springs within it. This site is considered to be the best example of a lowland hard oligo-mesotrophic lake with Chara spp. in England, owing to the clarity, low nutrient status and high calcium content of its water. The rare rugged stonewort Chara rudis and scarce species C. aspera, C. hispida and C. pedunculata occur here.

  • Morecambe Bay Pavements represents Juniperus communis formations on 8240 Limestone pavements at low to intermediate altitude in north-west England. In contrast to most other areas in northern England, these are ungrazed or grazed at low intensity and have affinities to southern mixed scrub, owing to the presence of species such as wild privet Ligustrum vulgare and burnet rose Rosa pimpinellifolia. Other stands occur on 6210 semi-natural dry grassland dominated by blue moor-grass Sesleria caerulea.

  • Extensive CG9 Sesleria albicansGalium sterneri grasslands occur at Morecambe Bay Pavements in north-west England. The grassland, which has an overall northern character, is also rich in southern lowland species, so providing important regional variation distinct from Craven Limestone Complex and Moor House – Upper Teesdale, also in northern England. There is a wide range of structural variation associated with intensity of grazing and the presence of cliffs, screes, and 8240 Limestone pavements on the margins of the grassland stands. There are important transitions to calcareous scrub and 9180 Tilio-Acerion forests.

  • 8240 Limestone pavements  * Priority feature

    This is one of four sites in northern England representing Limestone pavements on Carboniferous limestone. This site provides an example of lowland pavements that range from low to moderate altitudes (up to 274 m). Some of the pavements form woodland clearings that are sheltered and warm up quickly in spring. The pavement flora is here at its most diverse and, where grazing is absent, can be seen at its best because plant growth is not confined to the grikes. Trees and shrubs, including yew Taxus baccata, juniper Juniperus communis, buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica, hazel Corylus avellana, small-leaved lime Tilia cordata and ash Fraxinus excelsior, grow above the pavement surface. Some pavements lie within sheep pasture but are for the most part lightly grazed. Rustyback Ceterach officinarum is restricted to pavements that form sheltered woodland clearings. Other ferns occurring on the site include the nationally scarce rigid buckler-fern Dryopteris submontana, which is abundant on Hutton Roof Crags, and limestone fern Gymnocarpium robertianum. These pavements tend to be rich in herbs, with lily-of-the-valley Convallaria majalis, dark-red helleborine Epipactis atrorubens, pale St John’s-wort Hypericum montanum, ploughman’s-spikenard Inula conyzae, angular Solomon’s-seal Polygonatum odoratum, wood-sage Teucrium scorodonia, lesser meadow-rue Thalictrum minus and hairy violet Viola hirta achieving their best representation in limestone pavement here.

  • Woodland within Morecambe Bay Pavements, along with the nearby Roudsea Wood, represents Tilio-Acerion forests on Carboniferous limestone in north-west England. Although close to the northern limit of lime distribution, the ash Fraxinus excelsior-dominated woodland around Morecambe Bay contains many patches of small-leaved lime Tilia cordata, which survive sometimes with elm Ulmus spp., often along outcrop edges. There is a rich assemblage of rare species, including fingered sedge Carex digitata, wood fescue Festuca altissima and mezereon Daphne mezereum. The habitat type occurs here both on 8240 Limestone pavements and on loose scree and steep slopes.

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

    Morecambe Bay Pavements is an example of yew Taxus baccata woods in north-west England. The site is similar to the nearby Roudsea Wood and Mosses. These yew woods are on the northern Carboniferous limestone and, as in the Wye Valley, yew occurs both as dense groves and as scattered trees in the understorey of ash or ash-elm Fraxinus-Ulmus woodland. Yew woodland here represents the development of long-established stands on unstable scree and rocky slopes.

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

  • 1014 Narrow-mouthed whorl snail Vertigo angustior

    Morecambe Bay Pavements represents narrow-mouthed whorl snail Vertigo angustior in north-west England, near the northern limit of its range in the UK. Gait Barrows supports strong populations of the species in mossy clint tops of Annex I habitat 8240 Limestone pavements at transitions to woodland, an unusual habitat for the species.

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

  • Not Applicable

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