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Special Areas of Conservation

Great Orme's Head/ Pen y Gogarth

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Wales
Unitary Authority West Wales and The Valleys
Centroid* SH765833
Latitude 53.3325
Longitude -3.8536
SAC EU Code UK0014788
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 302.27
* 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 Great Orme's Head/ Pen y Gogarth SAC

General site character

  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (6%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (30%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (39%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (3%)
  • Improved grassland (5%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (3%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (4%)
  • Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (10%)

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

  • This north Wales site is the finest example of limestone heath in the UK. The majority of this rare and unusual vegetation is characterised by a short sward in which heather Calluna vulgaris and bell heather Erica cinerea occur in an intimate mixture with a rich assemblage of calcicolous grasses and herbs, such as meadow oat-grass Helictotrichon pratense and dropwort Filipendula vulgaris. Other types of dry heath present include various forms of H8 Calluna vulgarisUlex gallii heath. There are outstanding zoned sequences of limestone grassland and heath communities and these are associated with a wide range of other habitats, including limestone cliff, scree and a small area of 8240 Limestone pavements.

  • Great Orme’s Head in north Wales supports one of the largest stands in the UK of CG1 Festuca ovinaCarlina vulgaris grassland. There is also an extensive area of CG2 Festuca ovinaAvenula pratensis grassland. This is one of only three selected sites in the UK where this Xerobromion grassland type occurs. The site contains a wide range of structural types, ranging from short turf on south-facing rocky slopes with abundant hoary rock-rose Helianthemum oelandicum, through more closed calcareous grassland communities to tall herb-rich vegetation on scrub margins. Transitions from calcareous grassland to calcareous and acidic heath, cliff, scree and 8240 Limestone pavements are also well-represented.

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

  • Not Applicable

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.