SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Thames Basin Heaths

image: SPA location map 


The Thames Basin Heaths SPA is a composite site that is located across the counties of Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire in southern England. The open heathland habitats overlie sand and gravel sediments which give rise to sandy or peaty acidic soils, supporting dry heathy vegetation on well-drained slopes, wet heath on low-lying shallow slopes and bogs in valleys. The site consists of tracts of heathland, scrub and woodland, once almost continuous, but now fragmented into separate blocks by roads, urban development and farmland. Less open habitats of scrub, acidic woodland and conifer plantations dominate, within which are scattered areas of open heath and mire. The site supports important breeding populations of a number of birds of lowland heathland, especially Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus and Woodlark Lullula arborea, both of which nest on the ground, often at the woodland/heathland edge, and Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata, which often nests in gorse Ulex sp. Scattered trees and scrub are used for roosting.


Together with the nearby Wealden Heaths SPA and Ashdown Forest SPA, the Thames Basin Heaths form part of a complex of heathlands in southern England that support important breeding bird populations. 

Qualifying species

For individual species accounts visit the Species Accounts section


This site qualifies under Article 4.1 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following species listed on Annex I of the Directive:
During the breeding season;
Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata, 445 pairs representing at least 27.8% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count as at 1999)
Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, 264 pairs representing at least 7.8% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count mean (1998-99))
Woodlark Lullula arborea, 149 pairs representing at least 9.9% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count as at 1997) 



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