North Wessex Downs Heathlands

A data analysis and interpretation case study identifying existing and potential heathlands in North Wessex Downs National Landscape.

The area

The North Wessex Downs Landscape (NWDNL) is a cherished and beautiful area in Britain, covering over 1700 km2 across Berkshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, and Wiltshire. Designated as a special landscape, it provides numerous benefits for both people and wildlife. Within this landscape, lesser-known habitats like acid grassland and heathland play a crucial role. 

We assessed these habitats and identified potential sites for re-creation.

Our findings

  1. Species Diversity:
    • we identified 24 plant species and 228 invertebrate species associated with heathland.
    • These findings highlight the ecological importance of heathland habitats.
  2. Heathland Area:
    • Within the NWDNL, 65 hectares of heathland were identified.
    • An additional 420 hectares were found within a 5km buffer zone.
  3. Acid Grassland:
    • we also assessed acid grassland, identifying 376 hectares within the NWDNL.
    • An additional 403 hectares were found within the buffer zone.
  4. Restoration Potential:
    • 90 hectares within the NWDNL and 640 hectares in the buffer zone with high potential for heathland restoration.

These key locations will guide ground-truthing surveys and inform future restoration projects.

Padworth Common
Padworth Common Local Wildlife Site where heathland is present