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IPA Factsheet - The Mendips
Site code
CountryUnited Kingdom
Administrative regionSouth West (North Somerset)
Central co-ordinates51o 17' N / 2o 45' W map
Altitude10 - 192

 Site Description Situated in North Somerset, the Mendip Hills rise eastwards from the Bristol Channel above the Somerset Levels.

 Botanical Significance The area is noted for lichens, vascular plants and habitats interest. The Cheddar Complex supports a wide range of semi-natural habitats which includes unimproved grassland, calcareous dry dwarf-shrub heath, semi-natural broadleaved woodland and dense and scattered scrub. The unimproved acidic and calcareous grassland communities and the complex mosaic of calcareous grassland and acidic dry dwarf-shrub heath have a restricted distribution in Britain. The floristic interest of the site is high. Four nationally rare plants are present -- two of which are endemic to the Cheddar area -- as well as fifteen nationally scarce species. Many rare plants grow on the rocky outcrops and steep scree slopes of Cheddar Gorge.. The nationally rare Little Robin Geranium purpureum, Cheddar Pink Dianthus gratianopolitanus and Cheddar Bedstraw Galium fleurotii occur here, the latter two species being endemic to the area. Nationally scarce species include Slender Tare Vicia tenuissima, Dwarf Mouse-ear Cerastium pumilum and Rock Stonecrop Sedum forsteranum. Mossy Saxifrage Saxifraga hypnoides and Lesser Meadow-rue Thalictrum minus do not occur elsewhere in Somerset. These outcrops also support a diverse lichen community including small lichen species of the genus Cladonia Two nationally scarce species are present in the Charterhouse area. Spring Sandwort Minuartia verna is found on the old lead works, and Soft-leaved Sedge Carex montana is common on Ubley Warren. The nationally scarce Sorbus porrigentiformis and the nationally rare Sorbus anglica also occur. The lower plant interest of the site is considerable. Cheddar Gorge is one of the very few areas in southern Britain for the lichens Solorina saccata, Squamaria cartilaginea and Caloplaca cirrochroa. Bryophytes at Charterhouse with a restricted distribution in Somerset include Grimmia doniana and Gymnostonum aeruginosum. In Asham Woods the generally sheltered and humid conditions provide an ideal environment for a wide range of lower plants. 114 species of Moss, 21 species of Liverwort, and 122 species of Fungi have been recorded. Mendip Woodlands in south-west England is a relatively extensive example of Tilio-Acerion forests on limestone. It is a cluster of three ash-dominated woods on Carboniferous limestone. A rich variety of other trees and shrubs are present, including elm Ulmus spp. and, locally, small-leaved lime Tilia cordata. At Ebbor Gorge elm rather than lime is mixed with ash Fraxinus excelsior in a steep-sided gorge; at both Rodney Stoke and Cheddar Wood lime and ash are found on rocky slopes with patches of deeper soil between the outcrops.. Ferns characteristic of this woodland type, such as hartís-tongue Phyllitis scolopendrium and shield-ferns Polystichum spp., are common. The site is in the centre of the range of common dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius and holds a large population of this species. The Mells Stream flows through Edford Wood and on the river banks Monkís-hood Aconitum napellus, a nationally scarce plant, grows in abundance. Other ancient woodland species include Wild Daffodil , Narcissus pseudonarcissus, Herb Paris Paris quadrifolia, Solomonís-seal Polygonatum multiflorum and Meadow Saffron Colchicum autumnale. The meadows and pastures contain a high cover and diversity of herb species including Dyerís Greenweed Genista tinctoria Cowslip Primula veris, Pignut Conopodium majus and Green-winged Orchid Orchis morio. Source(s) SSSI citations 1992 (Edford Woods and meadows) 1984 (Asham Woods) 1989 (The Cheddar complex), SAC designation - Mendip Woodlands.

 General Habitat Description

Land use

Land use% CoverLevel
agriculture (mixed)Unknown

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
E1 Dry Grasslands2016201600unknownB
B3 Rock cliffs, ledges & shores, including the supralittoral2016201600unknownB
H3 Inland cliffs, rock pavements & outcrops2016201600unknownB

Threatened Habitats

IPA Habitat code & nameIPA Assess.Habitat Assess.AreaData qualityCriteria
6210(*) Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates(Festuco-Brometalia)200720070unknownCi
9180* Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines*200720070unknownCi


DesignationProtected Area NameRelationship with IPAOverlap with IPA
Special Area of ConservationMendip Limestone Grasslandprotected area overlaps with IPA319
Site of Special Scientific InterestThe Cheddar Complexprotected area overlaps with IPA433
Special Area of ConservationNorth Somerset Mendip Bats, Mendip Woodlandsprotected area overlaps with IPA72
Area of Outstanding Natural BeautyMendip Hillsprotected area overlaps with IPA1584
Site of Special Scientific InterestBrean Downprotected area overlaps with IPA66
Site of Special Scientific InterestUphill Cliffprotected area overlaps with IPA20
Site of Special Scientific InterestPurn Hillprotected area overlaps with IPA6
Site of Special Scientific InterestShiplate Slaitprotected area overlaps with IPA27
Site of Special Scientific InterestCrook Peak to Shote Shelve Hillprotected area overlaps with IPA331
Site of Special Scientific InterestAxbridge Hill & Fry's Hillprotected area overlaps with IPA67
Site of Special Scientific InterestCheddar Woodprotected area overlaps with IPA85
Site of Special Scientific InterestThe Perchprotected area overlaps with IPA73
Site of Special Scientific InterestKingdown & Middledownprotected area overlaps with IPA4
Site of Special Scientific InterestDraycott Sleightsprotected area overlaps with IPA63
Site of Special Scientific InterestRodney Stokeprotected area overlaps with IPA66
Site of Special Scientific InterestPriddy Podsprotected area overlaps with IPA52
Site of Special Scientific InterestChancellor's Farmprotected area overlaps with IPA32
Site of Special Scientific InterestBurrington Combeprotected area overlaps with IPA138
Site of Special Scientific InterestDolebury Warrenprotected area overlaps with IPA92
Site of Special Scientific InterestHarptree Combeprotected area overlaps with IPA14
Site of Special Scientific InterestBurledge Sidelans and Meadowsprotected area overlaps with IPA47
Site of Special Scientific InterestMax Bogprotected area overlaps with IPA7


TypeDescriptionYear startedYear finishes
Other Management PlanMendip Hills AONB management plan


abandonment/reduction of land managementunknown
agricultural intensification/expansion (grazing)unknown
habitat fragmentation/isolationunknown

 Conservation Issues

Contact Information

ContactContact Type
John CreweSite report compiler