Skip to Content

Special Areas of Conservation

Woolmer Forest

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England
Unitary Authority Hampshire and Isle of Wight
Centroid* SU805325
Latitude 51.08555556
Longitude -0.850277778
SAC EU Code UK0030304
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 670.15
* 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 Woolmer Forest SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (2%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (4%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (62%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (10%)
  • Coniferous woodland (22%)

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

  • Within Woolmer Forest, Cranmer Pond is a southern example of a dystrophic pond in an area of 4010 Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix and 7150 Depressions on peat substrates of the Rhynchosporion. The 8 ha pond is thought to originate from peat-cutting, and has an average depth of 1 m. The aquatic flora is comprised of bulbous rush Juncus bulbosus var. fluitans, which grows submerged and forms dense mats at the margins, and bog-mosses Sphagnum spp. which grow in shallower areas. To the north and south of Cranmer Pond are areas of 7140 Transition mires and quaking bogs.

  • Woolmer Forest contains the largest and most diverse area of lowland heathland in Hampshire, outside the New Forest, representing a transition between this and the Surrey heaths. Dry heaths in Woolmer Forest include examples of NVC type H1b Calluna vulgarisFestuca ovina heath, Hypogymnia physodesCladonia impexa sub-community, dominated by heather Calluna vulgaris and Cladonia lichens. Most of the dry heath is H2 Calluna vulgarisUlex minor, characterised by dwarf gorse Ulex minor. Woolmer Forest is the only site in Britain that supports all six native reptiles (including the Annex IV species sand lizard Lacerta agilis and smooth snake Coronella austriaca) and all six native amphibians (including 1166 great crested newt Triturus cristatus). It also supports an outstanding invertebrate fauna and bird assemblage, including European nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, wood lark Lullula arborea, Dartford warbler Sylvia undata, Eurasian hobby Falco subbuteo, hen harrier Circus cyaneus and merlin Falco columbarius.

  • In this west Wealden site, seepage mires and other waterlogged areas are a minor feature amongst predominantly wet heath habitat. Seepages are fed from a mix of acidic and calcareous sources, and give rise to a series of pool and hummock structures within the mire. The Rhynchospora alba occurs within NVC type M21 Narthecium ossifragumSphagnum papillosum mire. It includes a range of bog-mosses Sphagnum spp., cottongrasses Eriophorum angustifolium and E. vaginatum, bog asphodel Narthecium ossifragum, cranberry Vaccinium oxycoccos and the rare marsh clubmoss Lycopodiella inundata.

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.