Dry-humid acid grassland

Habitat type: 

Dry Humid Acid Grassland (Photo Paula Kearney)
Dry Humid Acid Grassland (Photo Paula Kearney)

Habitat code: 

GS3

Unimproved or semi-improved grassland that occurs on free-draining acid soils that may be dry or humid, but not waterlogged. This type of grassland mainly occurs on mineral rich or peaty podzols in upland areas or on low-lying siliceous soils. It is usually most extensive near the upper limit of enclosed farmland on hills and mountains, particularly those in the centre and east of the country, but also occurs widely on steep slopes in upland and lowland regions, and near the coast.

This type of grassland is characterised by dense low swards of narrow-leaved grasses

such as bents (Agrostis capillaris, A. tenuis), fescues (Festuca spp.), Sweet Vernal-grass

(Anthoxanthum odoratum), Wavy Hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) and Mat-grass (Nardus stricta). Purple Moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) may be present but should not dominate.

Wood-rushes (Luzula spp.), Heath Rush (Juncus squarrosus) and small sedges such as

Green-ribbed Sedge (Carex binervis) and Pill Sedge (Carex pilulifera) may also be prominent.

Common broadleaved herbs include Heath Bedstraw (Galium saxatile), Tormentil

(Potentilla erecta), White Clover (Trifolium repens), Devil’s-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis), Sheep’s Sorrel (Rumex acetosella), Heath Speedwell (Veronica officinalis), Common Dogviolet (Viola riviniana), Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).