Area: 9.8 hectares.
Description and Reason for Notification.
Nance Wood is a narrow strip of semi-natural woodland developed on steep north-facing slopes. The parent rock is Devonian shale, giving rise to soils which are predominantly acid and free-draining, although there are small pockets of more base-rich soils.
The majority of the woodland is composed of almost pure sessile oak Quercus petraea, last actively coppiced some 40–60 years ago. Proximity to the sea has resulted in a low, wind-pruned canopy between 4 and 6 metres high.
The ground flora consists of honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum, bramble Rubus fruticosus, bracken Pteridium aquilinum and bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta, with scattered stands of greater woodrush Luzula sylvatica on steeper slopes.
The shrub layer is composed of holly Ilex aquifolium, hazel Corylus avellana and hawthorn Crataegus monogyna.
The southern arm of Nance Wood supports an area of ash-oak-sycamore coppice, with some hawthorn, blackthorn Prunus spinosa and a few wych elm Ulmus glabra.
The site supports a good bryophyte flora, with 81 moss and 21 liverwort species recorded. Of particular interest are the mosses Hookeria lucens which shows a typically oceanic, west coast distribution, and the nationally rare species Pohlia filum and Aloina ambigua.
The site is of particular importance for the presence of Irish spurge Euphorbia hyberna, one of the only 2 British localities for this Red Data Book species. The dwarf Quercus petraea coppice is of interest in its own right.