List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Cheshire

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Mosslands, such as Risley Moss, are one of the major habitat types in Cheshire

There are 63 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Cheshire, England, covering a total area of 19,844 hectares (49,035 acres). Of these, 51 have been designated for their biological interest, 7 for their geological or geomorphological features, and 5 for both.[1]

SSSIs are governed by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which mandates that sites be selected for their "flora, fauna, or geological or physiographical features".[2] The body responsible for designating biological SSSIs in England is Natural England,[3] which took over the role of designating and managing SSSIs from English Nature on its creation in 2006. Earth sciences SSSIs are notified separately by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee across the entire UK via Geological Conservation Review.[4] Natural England, like its predecessor bodies, uses a system of areas termed "Areas of Search", which broadly correspond with the 1974–1996 counties,[2] and for consistency the same approach is followed here. In the case of Cheshire, the Area of Search differs from the modern ceremonial county boundary. Since the 1990s, nature conservation in England has also focused on 120 natural areas: regions defined by natural features rather than by administrative boundaries.[5][6] The Cheshire Area of Search encompasses four natural areas.[1][7]

Sketch map showing the broad locations of the four natural areas

The majority of the SSSIs fall within the Meres and Mosses natural area, which covers the bulk of the county, extending into Shropshire and Staffordshire to the south.[1][6] This region is dominated by the Cheshire Plain, a wide expanse of flat or gently undulating farmland which rarely rises above 100 metres in elevation. Despite intensive agricultural use, diverse wetland habitats survive including mosses (bogs), swamps, fens, meres and thousands of ponds. Flashes, originating in subsidence after salt extraction, contain examples of inland salt marsh, an extremely rare habitat internationally.[6] Ancient woodland is sparse throughout this area, but is found on the slopes of the Mid Cheshire Ridge and in river valleys towards the north of the county. The lowland heath habitat is very rare, occurring only at a handful of sites. The Mid Cheshire Ridge rises abruptly in the middle of the plain, with a high point of 227 metres; its Triassic sandstones are exposed at the Raw Head geological site.[6]

Raw Head is one of the area's geological SSSIs

Two extensive sites, Goyt Valley and Leek Moors, lie at the eastern edge of the county and the south-western end of the Pennines, within the South West Peak natural area of the Peak District.[1][8] At a significantly higher elevation than the other Cheshire SSSIs and underlain by millstone grit and shale, they contain a variety of upland habitats, predominantly heather moorland, grassland and blanket mire.[8]

Ten SSSIs are located in Warrington and the former boroughs of Halton and Ellesmere Port & Neston, in the north-west of the county. These fall within the Urban Mersey Basin natural area, which also covers Greater Manchester and Merseyside. Although the area as a whole is one of the most densely populated regions in Europe, much of the area within Cheshire is farmland. Semi-natural habitats here include ancient woodland, raised bog and freshwater wetland. The Rixton Clay Pits site represents former industrial land, and railway cuttings expose geological features.[1][9] Finally, the Liverpool Bay coastal region contains two estuaries, the Mersey and Dee, which are Cheshire's largest SSSIs.[1][10]

Sites[edit]

Site name Reason for designation Area[A] Grid reference[B] Year in which notified Map[C] Citation[D]
Biological interest Geological interest Hectares Acres
Abbots Moss Green tickY 38.4 94.8 SJ597690 1984  Map  [3]
Alderley Edge Green tickY 93.6 231.2 SJ848776 1951  Map  [4]
Bagmere Green tickY 26.9 66.3 SJ795643 1963  Map  [5]
Bar Mere Green tickY 12.8 31.5 SJ536478 1979  Map  [6]
Beechmill Wood and Pasture Green tickY 6.2 15.4 SJ540768 1979  Map  [7]
Betley Mere Green tickY 29.6 73.2 SJ747480 1963  Map  [8]
Bickerton Hill Green tickY 91.0 224.8 SJ498530 1979  Map  [9]
Black Lake, Delamere Green tickY 1.7 4.3 SJ537709 1963  Map  [10]
Brookhouse Moss Green tickY 10.1 24.9 SJ806617 1979  Map  [11]
Chapel Mere Green tickY 11.8 29.1 SJ540518 1987  Map  [12]
Comber Mere Green tickY 65.0 160.5 SJ585442 1963  Map  [13]
Dane-In-Shaw Pasture Green tickY 8.2 20.2 SJ877625 1990  Map  [14]
Danes Moss Green tickY 51.3 126.8 SJ905704 1985  Map  [15]
Dee Cliffs, Farndon Green tickY 2.0 5.0 SJ414542 1979  Map  [16]
Dee Estuary Green tickY 5,241.2 12,951.2 SJ240804 1954  Map  [17]
Dunsdale Hollow Green tickY 6.9 17.0 SJ513763 1987  Map  [18]
Flaxmere Moss Green tickY 7.0 17.2 SJ556723 1965  Map  [19]
Flood Brook Clough Green tickY 5.1 12.6 SJ532800 1979  Map  [20]
Frodsham Railway and Road Cuttings Green tickY 1.3 3.3 SJ520780 1979  Map  [21]
Gannister Quarry Green tickY 1.6 4.0 SJ869592 1985  Map  [22]
Gleads Moss Green tickY 2.8 6.9 SJ821685 1979  Map  [23]
Goyt Valley Green tickY 1,332.6 3,292.9 SK028746 1951  Map  [24]
Hallwood Farm Marl Pit Green tickY 0.1 0.3 SJ343759 1986  Map  [25]
Hatch Mere Green tickY 13.3 32.7 SJ551721 1951  Map  [26]
Hatherton Flush Green tickY 1.9 4.8 SJ671482 1985  Map  [27]
Hatton's Hey Wood, Whittle's Corner and Bank Rough Green tickY 23.7 58.5 SJ570770 1979  Map  [28]
Holcroft Moss Green tickY 18.1 44.7 SJ685932 1991  Map  [29]
Holly Banks[E] Green tickY 9.3 23.1 SJ815659 1979  Map  [30]
Inner Marsh Farm Green tickY 22.5 55.6 SJ307733 1998  Map  [31]
Leek Moors Green tickY Green tickY 3,970.8 9,812.1 SK010649 1954  Map  [32]
Lindow Common Green tickY 17.7 43.7 SJ834811 1963  Map  [33]
Linmer Moss Green tickY 2.4 5.8 SJ547707 1994  Map  [34]
Little Budworth Common Green tickY 54.4 134.3 SJ585655 1979  Map  [35]
Madams Wood Green tickY 9.5 23.4 SJ877650 1990  Map  [36]
Mersey Estuary Green tickY 6,714.5 16,591.9 SJ395818 1951  Map  [37]
Norbury Meres Green tickY 23.7 58.6 SJ559492 1979  Map  [38]
Oak Mere Green tickY 68.8 169.9 SJ574677 1986  Map  [39]
Oakhanger Moss Green tickY 14.4 35.6 SJ767550 1994  Map  [40]
Peckforton Woods Green tickY 57.9 143.0 SJ531576 1984  Map  [41]
Pettypool Brook Valley Green tickY 46.7 115.3 SJ617702 1951  Map  [42]
Plumley Lime Beds Green tickY 23.3 57.5 SJ707750 1963  Map  [43]
Quoisley Meres Green tickY 28.3 70.0 SJ548455 1963  Map  [44]
Raw Head Green tickY 13.5 33.4 SJ508544 1979  Map  [45]
Red Brow Cutting Green tickY 0.2 0.4 SJ567816 1991  Map  [46]
Risley Moss Green tickY 83.8 207.1 SJ667917 1986  Map  [47]
River Dane[E] Green tickY 295.8 730.8 SJ808661 1994  Map  [48]
River Dee (England) Green tickY Green tickY 371.5 917.9 SJ407658 1996  Map  [49]
Rixton Clay Pits Green tickY 13.7 33.7 SJ685901 1979  Map  [50]
Roe Park Woods Green tickY 35.4 87.5 SJ858583 1990  Map  [51]
Rostherne Mere Green tickY Green tickY 152.5 376.8 SJ743842 1984  Map  [52]
Sandbach Flashes Green tickY Green tickY 157.1 388.2 SJ726607 1963  Map  [53]
Sound Heath Green tickY 4.8 11.9 SJ620479 1963  Map  [54]
Tabley Mere Green tickY 44.9 110.9 SJ723768 1963  Map  [55]
Tatton Meres Green tickY 90.3 223.2 SJ755799 1963  Map  [56]
Taylor's Rough & Wellmeadow Wood Green tickY 6.5 16.0 SJ493453 1979  Map  [57]
The Mere, Mere Green tickY 19.4 48.0 SJ732818 1985  Map  [58]
Warburton's Wood and Well Wood Green tickY 6.9 17.0 SJ554761 1979  Map  [59]
Well Rough and Long Plantation Green tickY 8.6 21.2 SJ455443 1979  Map  [60]
Wettenhall and Darnhall Woods Green tickY 45.3 111.9 SJ649626 1979  Map  [61]
Wimboldsley Wood Green tickY 16.4 40.6 SJ672643 1979  Map  [62]
Witton Lime Beds Green tickY 16.4 40.5 SJ660749 1979  Map  [63]
Woolston Eyes Green tickY 269.8 666.7 SJ662885 1985  Map  [64]
Wybunbury Moss Green tickY Green tickY 23.2 57.4 SJ696501 1951  Map  [65]

Notes[edit]

All tabulated data are sourced from the Natural England website, and were last updated on 1 March 2010.[11][12]

A Data rounded to one decimal place. Area in acres converted from hectare value.

B Grid reference is based on the British national grid reference system, also known as OSGB36, and is the system used by the Ordnance Survey.[13]

C Link to maps using the Nature on the Map service provided by Natural England.[14]

D Natural England citation sheets for each SSSI.

E The River Dane and Holly Banks SSSIs overlap.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Sites of Special Scientific Interest: Cheshire". Natural England. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  2. ^ a b Guidelines for the Selection of Biological SSSIs, Part A: "Rationale". (Nature Conservancy Council; 1989) (ISBN 086139 544 1). Downloaded from [1], 14 April 2010.
  3. ^ "Notification of SSSIs". Natural England. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  4. ^ Joint Nature Conservation Committee: Geological Conservation Review (GCR) (accessed 14 April 2010)
  5. ^ Natural England: Natural Areas (accessed 15 April 2010)
  6. ^ a b c d English Nature: Meres and Mosses (27 February 1998) (accessed 10 April 2010)
  7. ^ Natural England: Natural Areas: Search Natural Areas (accessed 15 April 2010)
  8. ^ a b Natural England: The South West Peak Natural Area Profile (accessed 13 April 2010)
  9. ^ English Nature: The Urban Mersey Basin Natural Area: A Nature Conservation Profile (March 1997) (accessed 13 April 2010)
  10. ^ Natural England: Liverpool Bay Natural Area: A nature conservation profile (29 October 1997) (accessed 14 April 2010)
  11. ^ SSSI background data (Cheshire) – compiled 01 Mar 2010. Retrieved from [2]; 11 April 2010.
  12. ^ Natural England citation sheets for each SSSI. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  13. ^ "Guide to National Grid". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 2006-08-07. 
  14. ^ Natural England: Nature on the Map: Welcome to Nature on the Map (accessed 15 April 2010)