Westernhope Burn Wood

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Westernhope Burn Wood
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Country England
Region North East
District Wear Valley
Location NY935371
 - coordinates 54°43′45″N 2°6′6″W / 54.72917°N 2.10167°W / 54.72917; -2.10167Coordinates: 54°43′45″N 2°6′6″W / 54.72917°N 2.10167°W / 54.72917; -2.10167
Area 11.8 ha (29.2 acres)
Notification 1976
Management Natural England
Area of Search County Durham
Interest Biological
Map of England and Wales with a red dot representing the location of the Westernhope Burn Wood SSSI, Co Durham
Location of Westernhope Burn Wood SSSI, Co Durham
Website: Map of site

Westernhope Burn Wood is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in the Wear Valley district of south-west County Durham, England. It occupies the steeply-incised ravine of the Westernhope Burn, a tributary of the River Wear, which it joins from the south about halfway between the villages of Eastgate and Westgate.

The semi-natural deciduous woodland on the slopes of the ravine area is characteristic of the North Pennines, and this is one of the least disturbed areas of such vegetation in County Durham. Ash, Fraxinus excelsior, and wych elm, Ulmus glabra, are the dominant canopy species; hazel, Corylus avellana, is dominant in the understorey, in which holly, Ilex aquifolium, is also common. Alder, Alnus glutinosa, is the dominant species in wetter areas, next to the burn and in valley-side flushes.[1]

On the east side of the valley, the underlying sandstone and limestone is exposed as cliffs; these support a vegetation in which wood sage, Teucrium scorodonia, and foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, are among the commonest species. At the base of the cliffs, there are deposits of tufa, which are covered with bryophytes, especially curled hook-moss, Palustriella commutata, scented liverwort, Conocephalum conicum and Pellia spp.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Westernhope Burn Wood" (PDF). English Nature. 1985. Retrieved 27 July 2010.