Mendips header
 Overview maps
 Locality areas
  Cheddar Gorge
 Burrington Combe
 Shipham & Rowberrow
 Crook Peak & Axbridge
 Banwell to Churchill
 Harptree & Smitham Hill
 Draycott & Westbury-sub
 Wookey Hole & Ebbor
 Great Elm & Vallis Vale
 Mells & the Wadbury Valley
 The Vobster area
 The Whatley area
 Torr Works & Asham Wood
 Beacon Hill
 Stoke St Michael & Oakhill
 Holwell & Nunney
 Shepton Mallet & Maesbury
 Gurney Slade & Emborough
 The Nettlebridge valley
 Rocks of Mendips
 Geological timescale
 Ancient environments
 Geological structure
 Minerals and mines
  Minerals and mines
 Industrial archaeology
  Stone as a resource
 Employment & the economy
 Quarrying & geodiversity
 Quarrying & the environment
 History of quarrying
 Caves and karst
 How caves form
 Dry valleys and gorges
 Dolines and sinkholes
 Mendip caves
 Going caving
  Flora and fauna
 Typical Mendip habitats
 Special Mendip habitats
 Horseshoe bats
 Appendix of names
 Biodiversity of western
 Biodiversity of eastern
 External links
 Detailed site information
  Coal mining
  Mendip quarry companies
  East Mendip quarries
 Biodiversity of eastern
  West Mendip quarries
 Biodiversity of western
 Site map
Special Mendip habitats
Introduction | Limestone cliffs, crags, caves and screes | Limestone heath | Old lead workings | Ash-lime woodland

Limestone heath

Limestone heath is a term used to describe the heathland vegetation that grows on leached mineral soils or superficial deposits (e.g. loess) overlying limestone bedrock. It develops mainly on plateau sites and north-facing slopes where rain has leached the carbonate from the surface soil, rendering it acidic enough to support typical calcifugous (lime-hating) species like ling, western gorse and tormentil.

Stands of limestone heath are usually quite small, and they often occur in close juxtaposition with rich limestone grassland, thereby presenting an intriguing small-scale mosaic of calcifugous and calcicolous plants apparently growing together. A good example of limestone heath can be seen close to the car park at Blackmoor Reserve and on Crook Peak.
  Limestone heath

An area of limestone heath on the south-east ridge of Crook Peak. Here, lime-hating plants such as ling and western gorse thrive on leached acidic mineral soils developed on limestone bedrock.
goto the British Geological Survey home page