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IPA Factsheet - Lindisfarne
Site code
CountryUnited Kingdom
Administrative regionNorth East (North Northumberland)
Central co-ordinates55o 40' N / 1o 37' W map
Altitude1 - 16

 Site Description Lindisfarne is a tidal island off the north-east coast of England. Tidal mudflats, saltmarshes and sand dunes combine to create an ideal environment for plants, particularly vascular plants. The rare Lindisfarne helleborine, grows here.

 Botanical Significance IPA noted for vascular plant assemblages. Believed to grow only on Lindisfarne, the Lindisfarne helleborine Epipactis sancta is the subject of much debate about whether it is a fully fledged species, or simply a variety of the dune helleborine E. dunensis. The latest research, using modern genetic techniques, suggests that E. sancta is, indeed, a proper species. Off the north east coast of England, the island of Lindisfarne is connected to the mainland by a causeway, only accessible at low tide. The site contains extensive intertidal sand and mudflats, saltmarshes and dunes where a number of rarer plants thrive, including the Lindisfarne helleborine Epipactis sancta, unique to the island. The intertidal areas support extensive beds of narrow-leaved and dwarf eelgrass Zostera angustifolia and Z. noltii and the alga Enteromorpha. Although common cord-grass Spartina anglica has colonised large areas of intertidal mud and lower saltmarsh, the upper marsh remains dominated by common saltmarsh-grass Puccinellia maritima and thrift Armeria maritima. Extensive sand dune systems include older, leached, sands supporting dune heath, with heather Calluna vulgaris and bell heather Erica cinerea, and acid dune grassland in a mosaic unique within North East England. Dune slacks, dominated by creeping willow Salix repens and cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix, are well developed on the island where they support the rare dune helleborine Epipactis dunensis, coralroot orchid Corallorhiza trifida, round-leaved wintergreen Pyrola rotundifolia, curved sedge Carex maritima, seaside centaury Centaurium littorale, and tufted centaury C. capitatum. The liverwort, petalwort Petalophyllum ralfsii has been recorded here. The dune ridges are dominated by marram Ammophila arenaria with a rare hybrid grass, purple marram Ammocalamagrostis baltica, on the most seaward dune crests. An unusual assemblage of lichens is found on shingle which is exposed in places amongst the dunes. The only English populations of Scots lovage Ligusticum scoticum occur on the shore.

 General Habitat Description Tidal mudflats, saltmarshes and sand dunes

Land use

Land use% CoverLevel
agriculture (animals)Major
nature conservation and researchMajor

Threatened Species

Species NameIPA Assess.Species Assess.AbundanceData qualityCriteria
Epipactis sancta2007unknownunknownA(iii)

Botanical Richness

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

Threatened Habitats

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


DesignationProtected Area NameRelationship with IPAOverlap with IPA
Site of Special Scientific InterestLindisfarneprotected area overlaps with IPA294
Special Area of ConservationBerwickshire and Northumberland Coastprotected area is adjacent to IPA11
Special Area of ConservationNorth Northumberland Dunesprotected area overlaps with IPA283
Special Protection AreaLindisfarneprotected area overlaps with IPA259
Ramsar Wetland SiteLindisfarneprotected area overlaps with IPA259
National Nature ReserveLindisfarneprotected area overlaps with IPA250
Area of Outstanding Natural BeautyNorthumberland Coastprotected area contains IPA489


TypeDescriptionYear startedYear finishes
Habitat Management PlanCoastal and floodplain grazing marsh HAP2002
Habitat Management PlanCoastal saltmarsh HAP2002
Habitat Management PlanCoastal dunes HAP2002
Species Management PlanPetalophyllum ralfsii (Petalwort) SAP2002


consequences of invasive species (plant)high
development (infrastructure/transport)low

 Conservation Issues The site is managed as a National Nature Reserve by Natural England. The issue of water quality in input streams and sedimentation /siltation within the site is monitored by the Environment Agency. Natural England monitor and manage recreational and wildfowling use of the site in order to address issues of disturbance. Bait-digging is controlled by a SNCO.

Contact Information

ContactContact Type
Cath ShellswellSite report compiler