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Special Areas of Conservation

North Somerset and Mendip Bats

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England
Unitary Authority Dorset and Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area
Centroid* ST480544
Latitude 51.28611111
Longitude -2.746388889
SAC EU Code UK0030052
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 555.93
* 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 Somerset and Mendip Bats SAC

General site character

  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (22.5%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (27.5%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (30%)
  • Mixed woodland (19%)
  • Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (1%)

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

  • The Cheddar complex and Wookey Hole areas support a wide range of semi-natural habitats including semi-natural dry grasslands. The principal community present is CG2 Festuca ovinaAvenula pratensis grassland which occurs on rock ledges and on steep slopes with shallow limestone soil, especially in the dry valleys and gorges and on the south-facing scarp of the Mendips. The site is also important for the large number of rare plants which are associated with Carboniferous limestone habitats. These include dwarf mouse-ear Cerastium pumilum, Cheddar pink Dianthus gratianopolitanus and rock stonecrop Sedum forsterianum, which occur on rocks, screes, cliffs and in open grassland. Transitions to and mosaics with limestone heath, calcareous screes, scrub and 9180 Tilio-Acerion forests are a particular feature of the Cheddar complex part of the site.

  • The main block of Tilio-Acerion forest at Kings and Urchin’s Wood has developed over limestone which outcrops in parts of the site and forms a steep scarp to the south-east. Ash Fraxinus excelsior predominates in the canopy with small-leaved lime Tilia cordata, yew Taxus baccata and elm Ulmus spp., mostly formerly coppiced, but including some pollard limes. There is a rich ground flora including lily-of-the-valley Convallaria majalis, columbine Aquilegia vulgaris, angular Solomon’s-seal Polygonatum odoratum and purple gromwell Lithospermum purpureocaeruleum.

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

  • 1303 Lesser horseshoe bat Rhinolophus hipposideros

    The limestone caves of the Mendips provide a range of important hibernation sites for lesser horseshoe bat Rhinolophus hipposideros and 1304 greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum.

  • 1304 Greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum

    This site in south-west England is selected on the basis of the size of population represented (3% of the UK greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum population) and its good conservation of structure and function, having both maternity and hibernation sites. This site contains an exceptionally good range of the sites used by the population, comprising two maternity sites in lowland north Somerset and a variety of cave and mine hibernation sites in the Mendip Hills.

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.