Penhale Dunes IPA

Location: North Cornish coast, north of Perranporth, about 5 miles south west of Newquay.

Grid Reference: SW 767 566

Penhale Dunes IPA has been recognised as one of 165 Important Plant Areas in the UK.

The key features of this IPA are:

  • One of the UK’s most important populations of Petalwort
  • The species richness of lichens in Coastal dune and sand habitats: basic sand dunes
  • The Penhale Dunes are an extensive area of sand dunes adjoining maritime grassland and marshland which supports a very diverse flora.

    They are one of the largest exposed dune systems in the southwest and are considered to be one of the best areas of humid dune slacks in England. The dunes are also internationally recognised as an important bryophyte and lichen site.

    Four very rare plant species (Babington’s leek, wild leek, fragrant evening primrose and Shore-dock) grow at the IPA and it is home to at least 19 species of moss in addition to 66 lichen species, including the scrambled egg lichen.

    On the dunes, kidney vetch, wild carrot, restharrow, sand sedge and Portland spurge grow, whilst in the slacks pyramidal orchid and common storksbill may be found. Damper areas provide a suitable habitat for meadowsweet, water mint, the great willowherb and the marsh horsetail, and the grassland supports species such as salad burnet, yellow-wort and viper’s bugloss. In this setting the rare Cornish Gentian has also been recorded.