Upland heathland is home, for at least some of the year, to an impressive range of birds including Red Grouse, Short-eared Owl, Merlin, Ring Ouzel, Stonechat, Curlew, Golden Plover, Dunlin, and Snipe.
The distinctive Mountain Hare is found here and the streams of the fringes of Upland Heathland can be important for Water Vole.
Common Lizard is another inhabitant of upland heathland and Adder has been found although there are no recent records in Barnsley.
Invertebrates are especially diverse and include Emperor Moth, Green Hairstreak butterfly and Green Tiger Beetle.
Upland heathland was formed by clearance of woodlands on poor acidic soils or where peat is thin, and then maintained over centuries by grazing and fires.
It is dominated by a range of dwarf shrubs, particularly Common Heather or Ling, with Bilberry, Bell Heather and occasional Crowberry, Western Gorse and Juniper.
In the cloughs, or narrow valleys, which extend into the heather moorlands, a greater mix of dwarf shrubs can be found together with lichens and mosses.
It is often found as part of a mosaic of habitats with blanket bog and rough acid grassland and some scrub, woodland and rock habitats.
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Upland heath, tinting the landscape seasonally purple, covers areas of the slopes of the Pennine moors in the west of Barnsley. It is found above the 300 metre contour and enclosed pasture land.
Due to the altitude, weather conditions and soils, special communities of flora and fauna are found in the habitat, notably Mountain Hare and a range of moorland birds, including Red Grouse
Priority habitat details
Upland Heathland is a local priority habitat because of its national status, the species it supports and the potential for its conservation in Barnsley.
Upland Heathland is a UKBAP priority habitat and Section 41 habitat of principal importance.
Upland Heathland’s UkHab category is h1b
It is identified in Phase 1 habitat surveys as dwarf shrub heath,
It s found above the 300 metre contour on upland moors and has dwarf shrubs, eg heather or bilberry, covering >25% of an area of mineral soils or thin peat less than 0.5m deep.
Upland heath is dominated by Common Heather and the NVC National Vegetation Classification is based on the main associated shrub:
more rarely …
on higher exposed ground …
Good heathland examples:
Some of the heath on areas close to the 300 metre contour are intermediate between upland and lowland heath with some characteristics of both.