General site character

Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (68%)

Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (3%)

Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (1%)

Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (10%)

Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (5%)

Improved grassland (10%)

Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (2%)

Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (1%)

Annex I Habitat that is a primary reason for selection of this site: humid dune slacks

Dawlish Warren is a large sand spit with a dune system. The humid dune slacks support a population of the protected species petalwort Petalophyllum ralfsii for which the site is also selected.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site:

Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria "white dunes"

Fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation "grey dunes"

Species that are a primary reason for selection of this site:

Petalwort  Petalophyllum ralfsii

Large populations of petalwort Petalophyllum ralfsii occur in two dune slacks at Dawlish Warren. One of the slacks is on a natural, sandy substrate, and here the population appears to be expanding. In the other slack, petalwort grows on sand overlying an artificial masonry/stone substrate, which receives run-off from an adjacent limestone gravel track. Elsewhere in this slack the sand is more acidic and supports populations of the liverwort Fossombronia incurva. Both slacks are closely grazed by rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus.

Dunes, heath and grassland. dune slacks, petalwort and the liverwort Fossombronia incurva.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Natural England [2015].