St Albans Head to Durlston Head
|Unitary Authority||Dorset and Somerset|
|SAC EU Code||UK0019863|
|Status||Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)|
|* 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.|
General site character
Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (5%)
Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (20%)
Dry grassland, Steppes (72%)
Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (3%)
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
St Albans Head to Durlston Head, with Isle of Portland to Studland Cliffs, form a single unit of cliffed coastline some 40 km in length. The cliffs are formed of hard limestones, with chalk at the eastern end, interspersed with slumped sections of soft cliff of sand and clays. The cliffs support species-rich calcareous grassland with species that are rare in the UK, such as wild cabbage Brassica oleracea var. oleracea, early spider-orchid Ophrys sphegodes and Nottingham catchfly Silene nutans.
6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) (* important orchid sites)
This site hosts the priority habitat type "orchid rich sites". This site contains extensive species-rich examples of CG4 Brachypodium pinnatum calcareous grassland. The site holds the largest UK population of early spider-orchid Ophrys sphegodes. This species has declined very dramatically in the UK since the 1950s, in both population size and range.
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
1654 Early gentian Gentianella anglica
This site on the Dorset coast, together with Isle of Portland to Studland Cliffs, supports important long-standing populations of early gentian Gentianella anglica numbering several thousands of plants in floristically-rich calcareous grassland.
Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection
1304 Greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum
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