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Special Areas of Conservation

Beast Cliff - Whitby (Robin Hood's Bay)

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England
Unitary Authority North Yorkshire
Centroid* NZ962031
Latitude 54.41388889
Longitude -0.517222222
SAC EU Code UK0030086
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 265.48
* 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 Beast Cliff - Whitby (Robin Hood's Bay) SAC

General site character

  • Marine areas, Sea inlets (25%)
  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins) (8%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (67%)

Download the Natura 2000 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

  • Beast Cliff – Whitby is an east coast complex of hard and soft cliffs. The combination of geology, topography and plant communities found on the site are unique and it is one of the best examples of vegetated sea cliffs on the north-east coast of England. The underlying geology varies from base-rich to base-poor, and this variation is reflected in a characteristic and diverse flora across the site. Vertical hard cliffs support maritime crevice and ledge vegetation, and the more gently sloping parts of Beast Cliff itself are covered by scrub and woodland. Sandstone boulders support a luxuriant growth of mosses and ferns and pools on the cliff shelf support wetland plants and scrub. Due to the frequent land slippage occurring on the site, the woodland is constantly changing and being rejuvenated with mainly young trees forming secondary woodland. North of Beast Cliff to Ravenscar the vegetation is more open and reflects alternating strata of rich and poor base-status. Areas of calcareous clays support typical calcareous grassland and wet flush plant communities, whereas heathland species occur on more acidic sandstone outcrops. From Ravenscar north to Robin Hood’s Bay the cliffs are composed either partly or entirely of soft boulder clay. This clay is continually being eroded by wave action and slippage, and supports pioneer plant communities typical of this changing habitat.

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

  • 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.