General characteristics

Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (65%)

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

Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (15%)

Dry grassland, Steppes (15%)

Improved grassland (2%)

Habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

Vegetated sea cliffs of the Atlantic and Baltic Coasts

This site on the south coast of Cornwall represents a range of cliff habitats influenced by the complex lithological variation and tectonic structure at this location. The cliff habitats are particularly important for their assemblage of plants and the site also supports the Annex II species shore dock Rumex rupestris. The cliffs and slopes support a variety of maritime rock crevice and ledge communities, with maritime and sub-maritime grasslands and flushes. In places the lower cliffs, backshore and cliff crevices are influenced by freshwater seepages, flushes and springs. The maritime grasslands are found alongside or amongst areas of scrub and bracken Pteridium aquilinum, and the species composition reflects the variation in the calcareous influence of the underlying strata. Extensive areas of unimproved grassland are present on the cliff tops and headlands. The exposure at this site is less than that experienced on the north coast of Cornwall, and provides an important contrast to the other Cornish sites selected for this feature.

Habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

European dry heaths

Species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

Shore dock  Rumex rupestris

An important rocky-shore site for shore dock Rumex rupestris, near to the centre of its UK distribution. In 1999 the site supported 13 widely scattered colonies and at least 30 plants, along with numerous small pockets of additional suitable habitat.

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