Hexhamshire Moors

Hexhamshire Moors is a Site of Special Scientific Interest covering an extensive area of moorland in the Wear Valley district of north-west County Durham and the Tynedale district of south-west Northumberland, England.

It is a broadly rectangular area, occupying most of the upland between the valleys of the River East Allen to the west and Devil's Water to the east. The southern part of the site shares boundaries with the Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons and Blanchland Moor SSSI to the east and is separated from the Allendale Moors SSSI only by a very narrow strip of the East Allen valley.

The area has one of the largest expanses of blanket bog and heathland in northern England. Acid bogs occur in the vicinity of the numerous flushes that drain the moorland plateau, and localised patches of acid grassland have developed in areas that are regularly grazed by sheep.[1]

Floristically, much of the area is species-poor, but there are small populations of some nationally scarce species, including bog orchid, Hammarbya paludosa, which is found on the blanket peat, and forked spleenwort, Asplenium septentrionale, whose presence at one locality in the Northumberland part of the site is, to date, the only known record for that county.[1]

Eurasian golden plover, Pluvialis apricaria

The site's principal importance lies in its nationally important breeding populations of birds: three species—merlin, Eurasian golden plover and short-eared owl—are listed in Annex 1 of the European Commission's Birds Directive as requiring special protection and several others, including red grouse, Eurasian curlew, common redshank, Eurasian oystercatcher and dunlin, are listed in the United Kingdom's Red Data Book (Birds).[1]

Much of the moorland heath also supports a rich assemblage of invertebrates, including several scarce species of ground beetle, Carabidae.

The site is within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Hexhamshire Moors
Map showing the location of Hexhamshire Moors
Map showing the location of Hexhamshire Moors
Location of Hexhamshire Moors SSSI, County Durham / Northumberland
LocationWear Valley, Durham
Tynedale, Northumberland, North East, England
Coordinates54°50′N 2°12′W / 54.833°N 2.200°WCoordinates: 54°50′N 2°12′W / 54.833°N 2.200°W
Area9,434 ha (36.42 sq mi)
Governing bodyNatural England
WebsiteMap of site


  1. ^ a b c "Hexhamshire Moors" (PDF). English Nature. 1998. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
Allendale Moors

Allendale Moors is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Northumberland, England. The upland moorland ridge site is listed for its heath, flush and upland grassland which provide a habitat for a nationally important assemblage of moorland breeding birds.

List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in County Durham

This is a list of the Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in County Durham, England. It excludes SSSIs situated in that area south of the River Tyne that is now part of the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear as well as the area north of the River Tees which, prior to 1996, formed part of the county of Cleveland.

As of July 2010, County Durham has 88 sites that have been designated as SSSIs, of which 67 have been designated for their biological interest, 16 for their geological interest, and 5 for both.Five of these sites are shared with an adjacent county:

Moorhouse and Cross Fell with Cumbria;

Derwent Gorge and Horsleyhope Ravine, Hexhamshire Moors and Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons and Blanchland Moor with Northumberland;

Durham Coast with both Cleveland (in the south) and Tyne and Wear (in the north).

List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Northumberland

This is a list of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Northumberland, England.English Nature, the designating body for SSSIs in England, uses the 1974-1996 county system, and this list follows the same approach. Some sites one may expect to find here could therefore be in the County Durham or Tyne and Wear lists.

For other counties, see List of SSSIs by Area of Search.

List of the largest Sites of Special Scientific Interest in England

This is a list of the largest Sites of Special Scientific Interest in England in decreasing order of size. A lower threshold of 100 hectares or one square kilometre has been used.


Moorland or moor is a type of habitat found in upland areas in temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands and montane grasslands and shrublands biomes, characterised by low-growing vegetation on acidic soils. Moorland nowadays generally means uncultivated hill land (such as Dartmoor in South West England), but includes low-lying wetlands (such as Sedgemoor, also South West England). It is closely related to heath although experts disagree on precisely what distinguishes the types of vegetation. Generally, moor refers to highland, high rainfall zones, whereas heath refers to lowland zones which are more likely to be the result of human activity.Moorland habitats mostly occur in tropical Africa, northern and western Europe and neotropical South America. Most of the world's moorlands are very diverse ecosystems. In the extensive moorlands of the tropics biodiversity can be extremely high. Moorland also bears a relationship to tundra (where the subsoil is permafrost or permanently frozen soil), appearing as the tundra retreats and inhabiting the area between the permafrost and the natural tree zone. The boundary between tundra and moorland constantly shifts with climate change.

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