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Special Areas of Conservation

North Pennine Moors

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England
Unitary Authority Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, Tees Valley and Durham
Centroid* SE137749
Latitude 54.16944444
Longitude -1.79
SAC EU Code UK0030033
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 103014.48
* 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 North Pennine Moors SAC

General site character

  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (41%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (32%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (26.5%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (0.5%)

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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 North Pennine Moors (along with the North York Moors) hold much of the upland heathland of northern England. At higher altitudes and to the wetter west and north of the site complex, the heaths grade into extensive areas of 7130 blanket bogs. The most abundant heath communities are H9 Calluna vulgarisDeschampsia flexuosa heath and H12 Calluna vulgarisVaccinium myrtillus heath. There are also examples of H18 Vaccinium myrtillusDeschampsia flexuosa, H10 Calluna vulgarisErica cinerea and H21 Calluna vulgarisVaccinium myrtillusSphagnum capillifolium heaths.

  • The North Pennine Moors includes one major stand of juniper scrub in Swaledale as well as a number of small and isolated localities. The Swaledale site grades into heathland and bracken Pteridium aquilinum but the core area of juniper is of W19 Juniperus communisOxalis acetosella woodland with scattered rowan Sorbus aucuparia and birch Betula spp.

  • 7130 Blanket bogs (* if active bog)  * Priority feature

    The North Pennine Moors hold the major area of blanket bog in England. A significant proportion remains active with accumulating peat, although these areas are often bounded by sizeable zones of currently non-active bog, albeit on deep peat. The main NVC type is M19 Calluna vulgarisEriophorum vaginatum blanket mire, but there is also representation of M18 Erica tetralixSphagnum papillosum blanket mire and some western localities support M17 Scirpus cespitosusEriophorum vaginatum blanket mire. Forms of M20 Eriophorum vaginatum blanket mire predominate on many areas of non-active bog.

  • The petrifying springs habitat is very localised in occurrence within the North Pennine Moors, but where it does occur it is species-rich with abundant bryophytes, sedges and herbs including bird’s-eye primrose Primula farinosa and marsh valerian Valeriana dioica.

  • Acidic rock outcrops and screes are well-scattered across the North Pennine Moors and support vegetation typical of Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation in England, including a range of lichens and bryophytes, such as Racomitrium lanuginosum, and species like stiff sedge Carex bigelowii and fir clubmoss Huperzia selago.

  • Birk Gill Wood is an example of old sessile oak woods well to the east of the habitat’s main distribution in the UK. However, this sheltered river valley shows the characteristic rich bryophyte and lichen communities of the type under a canopy of oak, birch Betula sp. and rowan Sorbus aucuparia. The slopes are boulder-strewn, with mixtures of heather Calluna vulgaris, bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus and moss carpets in the ground flora.

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.