Dunsland Park IPA

Location: North Devon, off the A3072 between Hatherleigh and Holdsworthy.

Grid Reference: SS 409 052

Dunsland Park IPA has been recognised as one of 165 Important Plant Areas in the UK.

The key features of this IPA are:

  • The species richness of lichens in Broadleaved deciduous woodland: parkland
  • This site, lying in a valley orientated north to south, was bought by the National Trust in 1954. The Tudor mansion burned down in 1967 but the surrounding deer park has survived and is managed by the Trust.

    There is an impressive assemblage of trees such as some ancient oaks, lime and beech trees, whilst some sweet chestnuts are believed to date back at least 700 years. However, it is the unusually large number of lichen species, many nationally rare, which make this site so special.

    The combination of high humidity and lack of disturbance help to create a habitat which has supported 163 different species of lichens. Of these, at least 43 are highly indicative of longterm woodland continuity.

    All four species of Lobaria are present including the rare L .amplissima. Other members of the Lobarion community such as the nationally rare Heteroderma obscurata, Parmelia arnoldii and P. sinuosa have been found here.

    By contrast, older trees, unable to support the Lobarion, provide a suitable habitat for Lecanactideum premnae community: rarities such as Arthonia zwackii, Leptorhaphis ischnobela and Cyphelium inquinans have been recorded in this Park.

    The parkland also is home to a large number of flowers such as meadow sweet, wild angelica, hemlock water dropwort and reed canary-grass.