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Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods
Site of Special Scientific Interest
Silver Birch on Cranham Common - - 671279.jpg
Cranham Common
Area of Search Gloucestershire
Coordinates 51°48′58″N 2°08′45″W / 51.815989°N 2.145745°W / 51.815989; -2.145745
Interest Biological
Area 665.5 hectare
Notification 1954

Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods is a 665.5-hectare (1,644-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Gloucestershire, notified in 1954.

The Commons and Beechwoods lie within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site includes the Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods National Nature Reserve and Cooper's Hill Local Nature Reserve. It is part registered as common land and part owned by National Trust.

The Cotswold Beechwoods are recognised as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EU Habitats Directive.


The site comprises ancient Beech woodland and unimproved grassland. It overlies Jurassic limestones and is at the western edge of the Cotswolds. It is located around the villages of Sheepscombe and Cranham, and along the top of the scarp between Painswick and Birdlip.


The woodlands are diverse in their species, and the grasslands are typical of unimproved calcareous pastures well known for the area. The area supports many rare species of plants (including several varieties of orchid) and is an exceptional area for invertebrates. There are some disused limestone mines which are used as winter roosts by several bat species.


The beechwoods are currently developed as a high forest structure, but have a long history of management for timber.


The unimproved limestone grassland is mainly the common lands at Painswick Beacon, Cranham and Sheepscombe.

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