Area: 25.3 hectares.
Description and Reasons for Notification:
This site contains important areas of Atlantic-climate lowland heathland and supports a rich invertebrate fauna with many rare and local species.
Lying within an altitude range of 25 to 43 metres the site overlies Tertiary sands and clays of the Bovey Formation. The higher areas are freely drained whereas the low-lying parts are generally waterlogged. Sloping from approximately north to south the site has a mainly southerly aspect.
The dry heathland vegetation is dominated by heather Calluna vulgaris and this mixes in with abundant bell heather Erica cinerea and western gorse Ulex gallii. Acid grassland with abundant bristle bent Agrostis curtisii forms a mosaic with the dry heath in places with associated plants including tormentil Potentilla erecta, heath milkwort Polygala serpyllifolia, purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea and pale dog-violet Viola lactea.
Where drainage is impeded, species-rich wet heathland occurs. Purple moor-grass becomes more abundant here together with cross-leaved heath E. tetralix and bog myrtle Myrica gale. Many species are associated with the wet heath, including creeping willow Salix repens, lousewort Pedicularis sylvatica, heath spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza maculata, saw-wort Serratula tinctoria, devil’s-bit scabious Succisa pratensis, heath wood-rush Luzula multiflora and sedges Carex spp. Bog pools support plants such as common cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium and bog mosses Sphagnum spp.
Habitat diversity is provided by scrub communities with scattered pedunculate oak Quercus robur, birches Betula spp., European gorse U. europaeus, willows Salix spp. and alder buckthorn Frangula alnus. Bracken Pteridium aquilinum forms stands in places. In addition there is an area of alder carr woodland with alder Alnus glutinosa, downy birch B. pubescens and pedunculate oak forming a canopy over a rich ground flora. The species present are characteristic of undisturbed damp woodland conditions and include bugle Ajuga reptans, common figwort Scrophularia nodosa, yellow pimpernel Lysimachia nemorum, water mint Mentha aquatica and broad buckler-fern Dryopteris dilatata.
The site’s range of habitats and diverse environmental conditions supports a very rich invertebrate fauna, the heathland elements of which are well represented. Many nationally rare species have been recorded including 3 species of mining bee Andrena spp. and the fly Platypalpus inexpectatus. The nationally scarce bog bush-cricket Metrioptera brachyptera and slender ground-hopper Tetrix subulata occur and a colony of the nationally rare ant Formica exsecta has also been recorded.