Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Lowland Calcareous Grassland

Peak District millstones on hillside near Stanage

Lowland Calcareous Grassland (pdf full description) 

Approximate Extent – c.1,028 ha

Distribution -White Peak

Opportunities and Threats

Extent – Largely confined to the limestone dales (mostly within SSSIs), with smaller, often unprotected areas associated with slopes, rock outcrops, limestone hills and lead mines on the limestone plateau.  Probable modest decline in the dales over the last 100 years due to scrub encroachment, with small continuing decline.  Bigger proportionate losses on the limestone plateau, mainly due to agricultural intensification.

Condition – Generally good on protected sites, with X% within SSSIs in favourable condition, though scrub encroachment and appropriate grazing are a significant issue.  More variable on the limestone plateau.

Connectivity -  Generally very good in the dales, occurring as part of expansive mosaics of semi-natural habitat along valley corridors.  Patchy on the limestone plateau, with some concentrations on limestone hills and in parts of the lead orefield.

Climate change risks – Moderate.  Likely changes in species composition may benefit many southern species including invertebrates; but northern elements may decline (e.g. Grass of Parnassus, Globeflower). Associated farming changes could put existing grazing regimes at risk.


International importance, threat of scrub encroachment, and inadequate grazing mean it is:

High priority to:

  • Maintain favourable and recovering condition in SSSIs through grazing and scrub control.

Medium priority to:

  • Restore priority areas where scrub has encroached.
  • Safeguard unprotected sites.

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