Site Name: Brimham Rocks
County: North Yorkshire
Brimham Rocks, near Pateley Bridge, consists of a series of Millstone Grit tors together with amosaic of upland plant communities including dry and wet heath, birch woodland and acid bog.The tors and the various associated rock weathering forms in Millstone Grit (Upper Carboniferous) make this a classic geomorphological site, significant for studies of past and present weathering processes and their contribution to landscape evolution. The heath and bog habitats represent important examples of plant communities, formerly more widespread, which have been reduced by agricultural improvement, drainage and afforestation.
The areas of open heathland adjacent to the rocks consist primarily of heather Calluna vulgaris, bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus, and wavy hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa with scattered birch Betula sp., rowan Sorbus aucuparia and oak Quercus robur. Bracken Pteridium aquilinum occurs around the stacks, and cowberry Vaccinium vitis-idaea is found on the eastern side of the site. The presence of a population of the uncommon chickweed wintergreen Trientalis europaea is of note. On the north-eastern edge birch is regenerating freely in the absence of fires and grazing pressures.
Pockets of wet heath comprise common cotton-grass Eriophorum angustifolium, deer grass Trichophorum cespitosum, purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea, bog mosses Sphagnum spp. and cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix, and occasionally, cranberry Vaccinium oxycoccus. Bog asphodel Narthecium ossifragum and marsh violet Viola palustris together with water blinks Montia fontana, marsh thistle Cirsium palustre and wood horsetail Equisetum sylvaticum occur in a water-logged area associated with a small beck in the south of the site
Also of note is the occurrence of the local Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus and Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi butterflies.