Size: 27.68 hectares

% of total area of SSSI's: 6.81%

Designated features: Heather, Orange-birds foot, Least Adders tongue 

General Description

The thin soils and extreme exposure of Wingletang SSSI has led to the development of wind-pruned 'waved heath.' Most of the site is dominated by Heather and Bell heather to the east, with maritime grassland a feature around the coastline. Centrally, Wingletang is dominated by large stands of European Gorse. The heathland is particularly important for a number of nationally rare plants including the Least Adder’s tongue, Small Adder’s-tongue and Orange Bird’s-foot. Whilst the grassland supports species such as Autumn Lady’s Tresses, Western Clover, Portland Spurge and the nationally rare Early Meadow-grass.
The site also has a small breeding population of Ringed Plover at Beady Pool and a small colony Storm Petrel along the boulder beaches to the west.

Practical Management

The waved heath is managed naturally by the harsh environmental conditions the site is exposed to. To provide the short grassland conditions that many of the nationally rare plants need requires low intensity grazing. Reducing the amount of European Gorse within the central body of the site is a priority and firebreaks have been created to reduce the risk of natural or deliberate fires spreading across the site. The large blocks of Gorse that now remain are being broken down further to create a mosaic of varying size gorse stands, with open areas in between. These areas are important for breeding birds such as Stonechat, Meadow Pipit and Linnet. Along with the trampling action of the cattle and the control of Bracken which may return, these open areas should naturally return to a mosaic of grasses and heather, increasing the amount of diversity across the site.