General site character
Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (5%)
Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (15%)
Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (70%)
Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (3%)
Coniferous woodland (3%)
Mixed woodland (3%)
Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (1%)
Habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site
Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix
This is the largest block of lowland heathland in Devon and is associated with various other mire communities. The wet element occupies the lower-lying areas and includes good examples of the cross leaved heath - compact bog moss Erica tetralix – Sphagnum compactum wet heath. Among the 21 breeding dragonfly species are the the small red damselfly Ceriagrion tenellum, southern damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale and the downy emerald dragonfly Cordulea aenea.
Annex II species Southern damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale. There is also an important assemblage of birds, including European nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, Eurasian hobby Falco subbuteo and Dartford warbler Sylvia undata.
European dry heaths
The East Devon Pebblebed Heaths in southwest England include extensive areas of lowland European dry heaths. This site has representative examples of western gorse - bristle bent (grass) heath, Ulex gallii – Agrostis curtisii heath, characterised by the presence of heather Calluna vulgaris, bell heather Erica cinerea, western gorse Ulex gallii, bristle bent Agrostis curtisii, purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea, cross-leaved heath E. tetralix and tormentil Potentilla erecta. The presence of plants such as cross-leaved heath illustrates the more oceanic nature of these heathlands, as this species is typical of wet heath in the more continental parts of the UK.
Species that are a primary reason for selection of this site
Southern damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale
This site holds two relatively small populations representing southern damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale in the southwest of its range in England. These populations occur in wet flushes within the site.
Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix.
European dry heaths.
Southern damselfly Coenagrion mercuriale.
Special Protection Area species:
Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus with a population of c.83.
Dartford warbler Sylvia undata with a population of c.128.