Chudleigh Rocks IPA
Location: South of Chudleigh, Devon, just east of the A38.
Grid Reference: SX 863 786
The Chudleigh Rocks IPA centres on semi-natural woodland growing on Devonian limestone, base-rich shales with calcareous clay loam soils: a wide range of plant, bird and invertebrate species are to be found in the steep-sided valley.
Historically, the woodland has developed from the practice of ‘coppice with pollard’.
The woodland canopy comprises a mixture of pedunculate oak, ash, field maple, small-leaved lime, wych elm and wild cherry, whilst the understorey comprises many native shrub species with the ground flora including species such a woodruff, yellow archangel, stinking iris, ivy broomrape and toothwort.
Chudleigh Rocks, however, has been identified as an IPA because of the wide variety of lichens and bryophytes which grow on the rocks, particularly where they are shaded. The exposed limestone outcrops provide the perfect home for some rare species of national and international significance that include Caloplaca cirrochroa, Dermatocarpon miniaton and Verrucaria coerulea. Also the epiphytic Catinaria grossa, Phlyctis agelaea and Schismatomma virgineum have been found at this IPA. The site is most significant for the occurrence of the lichen Catapyrenium psoromoides.
Image: Woodruff © Beth Newman/Plantlife