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IPA Factsheet - Savernake Forest
Site code
CountryUnited Kingdom
Administrative regionSouth West (North Wiltshire)
Central co-ordinates51o 23' N / 1o 40' W map
Altitude153 - 201

 Site Description Savernake Forest is an extensive area of ancient woodland with over one thousand years of documented history. One of the largest woods in Wiltshire, it harbours an outstanding lichen flora and a wide variety of other plants, including species with nationally restricted distributions. Relics of the ancient wood pasture remain, represented by the distinctive open crowned specimens of sessile and pedunculate oak which are scattered throughout the site. Eighteenth and early nineteenth century plantations of beech and oak have now assumed a semi-natural structure but the Forest consists mainly of twentieth century beech or oak plantation. These stands are supplemented by naturally regenerated silver birch, ash, downy birch, rowan and willows. Wych elm, field maple, holly and midland hawthorn also occur and hazel is locally frequent in the former coppice areas. Hawthorn is abundant and, like blackthorn, forms stands of scrub in the open spaces where it is a valuable nectar resource for deadwood insects.

 Botanical Significance Lichens interest. Woodland mosses and liverworts are well represented and include Dicranum montanum, Frullania tamariscii and the nationally scarce liverwort F. fragilifolia. The site also supports an outstanding lichen flora with over one hundred species, among them several characteristic of old forests, for example, Parmelia crinita, P. reddenda, Arthonia didyma and the rare Caloplaca herbidella which was first recorded from Savernake.The exceptional diversity of fungi in the Forest, with well over 500 species, can generally be attributed to the continuity of the beech woodland, the presence of unimproved grassland areas and the abundance of decaying wood. Several uncommon species of Lepiota have been found, as well as an impressive range of other fungi.

 General Habitat Description

Land use

Land use% CoverLevel
nature conservation and researchMinor

Threatened Species

Species NameIPA Assess.Species Assess.AbundanceData qualityCriteria

Botanical Richness

EUNIS level 2 code & nameIPA Assess.Habitat Assess.% of indicator speciesNo. SpeciesNational BiotopeData qualityCriteria
G1 Broadleaved deciduous woodland2012201200unknownB

Threatened Habitats

IPA Habitat code & nameIPA Assess.Habitat Assess.AreaData qualityCriteria


DesignationProtected Area NameRelationship with IPAOverlap with IPA
Site of Special Scientific InterestSavernake Forestprotected area overlaps with IPA847
Area of Outstanding Natural BeautyNorth Wessex Downsprotected area contains IPA848


TypeDescriptionYear startedYear finishes


development (recreation/tourism)unknown

 Conservation Issues Scrub encroachment

Contact Information

ContactContact Type
John CreweSite report compiler