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List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in County Durham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monk's Moor in Upper Teesdale, the largest SSSI in County Durham
Monk's Moor in Upper Teesdale, the largest SSSI in County Durham

This is a list of the Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in County Durham, England. It excludes SSSIs situated in that area south of the River Tyne that is now part of the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear as well as the area north of the River Tees which, prior to 1996, formed part of the county of Cleveland.

As of July 2010, County Durham has 88 sites that have been designated as SSSIs, of which 67 have been designated for their biological interest, 16 for their geological interest, and 5 for both.[1]

Five of these sites are shared with an adjacent county:

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Designation of SSSIs

Sites of Special Scientific Interest are areas that have been selected for special protection because of their floral, faunal or geological significance. The concept was first given a statutory basis in the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, the relevant provisions of which were repeated in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Under the 1949 Act, responsibility for selecting and notifying SSSIs in England was delegated to the newly created Nature Conservancy, which was replaced in 1973 by the Nature Conservancy Council (NCC). In 1991, the NCC was split up, its responsibilities in England being passed to English Nature which, in turn, was amalgamated into a new body, Natural England, in 2006.

The process for establishing an SSSI is as follows: [2]

  • When a site has been identified, Natural England notifies the landowner, the occupier (if different) and the local planning authority (plus relevant government departments and agencies);
  • Owners and occupiers are given time to lodge objections or make representations concerning the restrictions imposed on an SSSI;
  • The Board of Natural England considers these responses and decides whether to confirm or withdraw the SSSI notification.

The initial notification of a site is accompanied by a citation sheet, which outlines the reasons for the notification: the data in the following list is summarised from these individual citation sheets.[3]

Reasons for notification as SSSI

Of the 88 SSSIs designated in County Durham, 67 have been designated for their biological interest, 16 for their geological interest, and five for both biological and geological interest.


While many of the SSSIs designated for biological reasons cover a variety of habitats, most have been designated primarily for one (or more) of a small number of reasons, as detailed in the individual citation sheets:[3]

  • Habitats
  • Moorland (upland heath and bogs) – Bollihope, Pikestone, Eggleston and Woodland Fells, Bowes Moor, Cotherstone Moor, Hexhamshire Moors, Lune Forest, Moorhouse and Cross Fell, Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons and Blanchland Moor, Upper Teesdale
  • Lowland heath – Green Croft and Langley Moor, Hesledon Moor West, Waldridge Fell
  • Wetlands (carr, fen, etc) – Burnhope Burn, Butterby Oxbow, Causey Bank Mires, Frog Wood Bog, Hell Kettles, Hesledon Moor East, Hesledon Moor West, Hisehope Burn Valley, Hulam Fen, Middleton Quarry, Pike Whin Bog, Pow Hill Bog, Railway Stell West, Redcar Field, The Carrs, Waldridge Fell, Witton-le-Wear
  • Semi-natural woodland – Backstone Bank and Baal Hill Woods, Baldersdale Woodlands, Brignall Banks, Castle Eden Dene, Derwent Gorge and Horsleyhope Ravine, Hawthorn Dene, Hisehope Burn Valley, Hunder Beck Juniper, Shipley and Great Woods, Slit Woods, Westernhope Burn Wood
  • Magnesian limestone grassland – Bishop Middleham Quarry, Cassop Vale, Charity Land, Dabble Bank, Durham Coast, Fishburn Grassland, Hawthorn Dene, Hesledon Moor East, Pig Hill, Pittington Hill, Quarrington Hill Grasslands, Raisby Hill Grassland, Sherburn Hill, The Bottoms, Thrislington Plantation, Town Kelloe Bank, Trimdon Limestone Quarry, Tuthill Quarry, Wingate Quarry
  • Hay meadows – Bowlees and Friar House Meadows, Cornriggs Meadows, Far High House Meadows, Grains o' th' Beck Meadows, Hannah's Meadows, Low Redford Meadows, Mere Beck Meadows, Middle Crossthwaite, Middle Side and Stonygill Meadows, Newton Ketton Meadow, Rigg Farm and Stake Hill Meadows, West Newlandside Meadows, West Park Meadows
  • Open water – Brasside Pond, The Carrs, Witton-le-Wear
  • Fauna
  • Breeding birds – Bollihope, Pikestone, Eggleston and Woodland Fells, Bowes Moor, Cotherstone Moor, Durham Coast, Hexhamshire Moors, Lune Forest, Moorhouse and Cross Fell, Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons and Blanchland Moor, Teesdale Allotments, Upper Teesdale
  • Invertebrates – Bishop Middleham Quarry, Cassop Vale, Durham Coast, Green Croft and Langley Moor, Hexhamshire Moors, Middleton Quarry, Moorhouse and Cross Fell, Pig Hill, Quarrington Hill Grasslands, Raisby Hill Grassland, Sherburn Hill, Thrislington Plantation, Town Kelloe Bank, Upper Teesdale, Waldridge Fell


The surface geology of County Durham is largely confined to rocks dating from the Carboniferous and Permian periods. In the west of the county, outcrops of Dinantian limestones are found in the river valleys, while the upland areas are underlain by the younger Namurian Millstone Grit Series. To the east, these rocks dip beneath the Westphalian Coal Measures, which underlay a broad swathe in the centre of the county. Further east, the Coal Measures are overlain by Permian Magnesian Limestone, which forms a low plateau across the eastern part of the county. Igneous intrusions are a prominent feature of the geology and gave rise to extensive mining for lead and other minerals, especially in the upper Weardale area in the west of the county.[4][5]

Although each SSSI designated for geological reasons has its own distinctive features, they fall into a small number of broad categories, as indicated in the individual citation sheets:[3]

  • Sedimentary – Botany Hill, Crag Gill, Crime Rigg, Durham Coast, Hawthorn Quarry, Raisby Hill Quarry, Rogerley Quarry, Sleightholme Beck Gorge – The Troughs, Stony Cut, Cold Hesledon, Trimdon Limestone Quarry, Yoden Village Quarry
  • Igneous – Greenfoot Quarry, Moorhouse and Cross Fell, Upper Teesdale, West Rigg Open Cutting
  • Mineralogy – Close House Mine, Foster's Hush, Moorhouse and Cross Fell, Old Moss Lead Vein, Upper Teesdale, West Rigg Open Cutting
  • Palaeontology – Middridge Quarry
  • Quaternary events – Durham Coast, Upper Teesdale
  • Geomorphology
  • Cave development – Fairy Holes Cave, God's Bridge, Moorhouse and Cross Fell
  • Coastal – Durham Coast
  • Periglacial – Moorhouse and Cross Fell
  • Fluvial – Moorhouse and Cross Fell

Area covered

From its inception, English Nature classified sites using the 1974–1996 county system. As Natural England uses the same system,[6] it is also adopted in the following list. As a result, some sites that lie within the ceremonial county of Durham and might therefore be expected to be listed here will be found instead in either the Cleveland or the Tyne and Wear lists.

For other counties, see List of SSSIs by Area of Search.


Site name Reason for designation Area[A] Grid reference[B] Year in which notified Map[C]
Biological interest Geological interest Hectares Acres
Backstone Bank and Baal Hill Woods Green tickY 46.5 114.9 NZ068399 1987 Map
Baldersdale Woodlands Green tickY 19.6 48.4 NY992200 1991 Map
Bishop Middleham Quarry Green tickY 8.6 21.3 NZ332326 1968 Map
Bollihope, Pikestone, Eggleston and Woodland Fells Green tickY 7,949.2 19,643.2 NZ005300 1996 Map
Botany Hill Green tickY 3.8 9.3 NY955205 1984 Map
Bowes Moor Green tickY 4,457.7 11,014.9 NY923104 1989 Map
Bowlees and Friar House Meadows Green tickY 5.6 13.9 NY898283
1991 Map
Brasside Pond Green tickY 25.1 62.0 NZ292452 1966 Map
Brignall Banks Green tickY 85.0 210.0 NZ063113 1987 Map
Burnhope Burn Green tickY 5.1 12.6 NZ029507 1987 Map
Butterby Oxbow Green tickY 7.3 18.0 NZ275390 1957 Map
Cassop Vale Green tickY 40.9 101.0 NZ335387 1958 Map
Castle Eden Dene Green tickY 193.0 476.8 NZ434396 1984 Map
Causey Bank Mires Green tickY 6.8 16.8 NZ206564 1987 Map
Charity Land Green tickY 5.8 14.4 NZ375345 1999 Map
Close House Mine Green tickY 3.4 8.3 NY849228 1995 Map
Cornriggs Meadows Green tickY 15.2 37.5 NY846416 1989 Map
Cotherstone Moor Green tickY 2,449.5 6,050.1 NY940170 1955 Map
Crag Gill Green tickY 2.3 5.7 NZ026235 1984 Map
Crime Rigg and Sherburn Hill Quarries Green tickY 23.2 57.4 NZ344416 1968 Map
Dabble Bank Green tickY 4.1 10.2 NZ364434 2002 Map
Derwent Gorge and Horsleyhope Ravine [D] Green tickY 49.0
1976 Map
Durham Coast [E] Green tickY Green tickY 765.4 1,891.4 NZ381685NZ495362 1960 Map
Fairy Holes Cave Green tickY 208.8 515.9 NY936357 1961 Map
Far High House Meadows Green tickY 5.5 13.6 NY839383 1990 Map
Fishburn Grassland Green tickY 1.1 2.8 NZ362328 1992 Map
Foster's Hush Green tickY 1.3 3.2 NY859204 Map
Frog Wood Bog Green tickY 3.2 7.9 NZ069303 1989 Map
God's Bridge Green tickY 9.3 22.9 NY957126 1986 Map
Grains o' th' Beck Meadows Green tickY 12.3 30.4 NY872209 1989 Map
Green Croft and Langley Moor Green tickY 6.5
1989 Map
Greenfoot Quarry Green tickY 0.9 2.2 NY982392 1984 Map
Hannah's Meadows Green tickY 7.1 17.5 NY935185 Map
Hawthorn Dene Green tickY 64.1 158.4 NZ435458 1968 Map
Hawthorn Quarry Green tickY 9.8 24.2 NZ435463 1990 Map
Hell Kettles Green tickY 3.4 8.4 NZ281109 1976 Map
Hesledon Moor East Green tickY 6.0 14.8 NZ399466 1998 Map
Hesledon Moor West Green tickY 7.4 18.2 NZ386453 1984 Map
Hexhamshire Moors [F] Green tickY 9,433.9 23,311.7 NY870530 1998 Map
Hisehope Burn Valley Green tickY 14.9 36.9 NZ041477
1988 Map
Hulam Fen Green tickY 0.2 0.5 NZ439374 1986 Map
Hunder Beck Juniper Green tickY 3.5 8.5 NY931178 1994 Map
Kilmond Scar Green tickY 4.5 11.1 NZ028134 1963 Map
Low Redford Meadows Green tickY 9.3 22.9 NZ077309
1991 Map
Lune Forest Green tickY 6,333.4 15,650.3 NY850200 1998 Map
Mere Beck Meadows Green tickY 6.6 16.3 NY951186 1989 Map
Middle Crossthwaite Green tickY 24.1 59.5 NY931256 1991 Map
Middle Side and Stonygill Meadows Green tickY 17.3 42.7 NY933262
1991 Map
Middleton Quarry Green tickY 6.0 14.8 NY948245 1964 Map
Middridge Quarry Green tickY 1.9 4.7 NZ248252 1979 Map
Moorhouse and Cross Fell [G] Green tickY Green tickY 13,707.0 33,870.0 NY715365 1951 / 1963 Map
Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons and Blanchland Moor [H] Green tickY 9,118.1 22,531.4 NY990450
1997 Map
Neasham Fen Green tickY 2.5 6.1 NZ331115 1992 Map
Newton Ketton Meadow Green tickY 1.8 4.5 NZ322207 1989 Map
Old Moss Lead Vein Green tickY 0.6 1.5 NY820433 1961 Map
Park End Wood Green tickY 10.3 25.5 NY924260 1964 Map
Pig Hill Green tickY 12.6 31.2 NZ365444
1992 Map
Pike Whin Bog Green tickY 1.3 3.1 NZ415334 1984 Map
Pittington Hill Green tickY 6.4 15.8 NZ321447 1987 Map
Pow Hill Bog Green tickY 6.7 16.6 NZ009518 1986 Map
Quarrington Hill Grasslands Green tickY 4.5 11.1 NZ333373
2000 Map
Railway Stell West Green tickY 4.6 11.4 NZ319270NZ313247 1986 Map
Raisby Hill Grassland Green tickY 15.1 37.4 NZ335354 1984 Map
Raisby Hill Quarry Green tickY 52.4 129.5 NZ342353 1957 Map
Redcar Field Green tickY 0.7 1.6 NZ292198 1985 Map
Rigg Farm and Stake Hill Meadows Green tickY 14.7 36.3 NY933224 1989 Map
Rogerley Quarry Green tickY 5.6 13.8 NZ015379NZ021374 1984 Map
Sherburn Hill Green tickY 16.7 41.2 NZ329417 1985 Map
Shipley and Great Woods Green tickY 63.4 156.5 NY966119 1975 Map
Sleightholme Beck Gorge - The Troughs Green tickY Green tickY 7.5 18.5 NY966119 1976 Map
Slit Woods Green tickY 14.1 34.8 NY906390 1976 Map
Stony Cut, Cold Hesledon Green tickY 0.8 2.1 NZ418473 1996 Map
Teesdale Allotments Green tickY 1,308.3 3,231.6 NY930290 1994 Map
The Bottoms Green tickY 2.2 5.2 NZ361381 1999 Map
The Carrs Green tickY 12.9 31.9 NZ301327 1988 Map
Thrislington Plantation Green tickY 22.7 56.1 NZ316327 1962 Map
Town Kelloe Bank Green tickY 6.0 15.0 NZ359373 1976 Map
Trimdon Limestone Quarry Green tickY Green tickY 0.8 2.0 NZ362353 1992 Map
Tuthill Quarry Green tickY 10.7 26.5 NZ388429 1994 Map
Upper Teesdale Green tickY Green tickY 14,035.6 34,681.9 NY830320 1951 Map
Waldridge Fell Green tickY 113.5 280.4 NZ250498 1965 Map
West Newlandside Meadows Green tickY 12.5 30.8 NY972374 1990 Map
West Park Meadows Green tickY 6.7 16.6 NY940229 1989 Map
West Rigg Open Cutting Green tickY 4.8 11.9 NY911391 1989 Map
Westernhope Burn Wood Green tickY 11.8 29.1 NY935371 1976 Map
Wingate Quarry Green tickY 23.4 57.7 NZ373375 1984 Map
Witton-le-Wear Green tickY 36.2 89.4 NZ163313 1966 Map
Yoden Village Quarry Green tickY 0.4 1.0 NZ436417 1988 Map


A Data rounded to one decimal place.
B Grid reference is based on the British national grid reference system, also known as OSGB36, and is the system used by the Ordnance Survey.[7] Where an SSSI consists of multiple, non-contiguous sections, each section is assigned its own OS grid reference.
C Link to maps using the Nature on the Map service provided by Natural England.
D Natural England also lists Derwent Gorge and Horsleyhope Ravine under Northumberland.
E Natural England also lists Durham Coast under both Cleveland and Tyne and Wear.
F The grid reference for Hexhamshire Moors places it in Northumberland, not Durham; Natural England lists it under both counties.
G Natural England also lists Moorhouse and Cross Fell under Cumbria.
H Natural England also lists Muggleswick, Stanhope and Edmundbyers Commons and Blanchland Moor under Northumberland.


  1. ^ "Search results for Durham". Natural England. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  2. ^ "SSSIs – The designation process". Natural England. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Natural England citation sheets for each SSSI. Retrieved on 2008-02-26. (PDF files).
  4. ^ "The Durham Landscape" (PDF). Durham County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  5. ^ "County Durham Local Development Framework Tech. Paper no. 20 – Minerals" (PDF). Durham County Council. April 2009. pp. 16–20. Retrieved 13 August 2010.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Search for SSSI details". Natural England. Archived from the original on 19 August 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Guide to National Grid". Ordnance Survey. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 21 February 2008.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 December 2020, at 00:18
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