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Honister Crag SSSI facts for kids

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Honister Crag
Site of Special Scientific Interest
RIMG3511.jpg
HonisterĀ“s via ferrata with Honister Pass in the background
Interest Biological and geological
Notification 1988
Location map Magic Map

Honister Crag SSSI is a Site of Special Scientific Interest in Cumbria, England. It is designated for both biological and geological interest. The site covers an area of 302.9 ha on Honister Crag, from which it takes its name, and Fleetwith Pike, an adjacent fell. It is separated from another SSSI, Buttermere Fells, by the B5289 road.

Biology

The site is important for its plants and provides one of the best examples of species-rich upland ledge communities in West Cumbria. It supports a mixture of montane and lowland species.

Management

English Nature (the predecessor organisation of Natural England) identified a need to control grazing stock and to manage human access.

In 2011 Natural England successfully prosecuted Honister Slate Mine for damaging the SSSI. The mine had been redeveloped by a local businessman as a tourist attraction, and the facilities included an unapproved extension to an existing via ferrata and a zip wire. It was noted their use by paying members of the public caused significant damage to the vegetation through trampling.

In November 2018 the Lake District National Park approved a planning application from the Slate Mine for a zip wire running 1 km from Fleetwith Pike (a longer wire than the one which was the subject of controversy in 2011)). The Cumbria Wildlife Trust expressed concern that damage would be caused to alpine flowers.

Geology

There are important exposures of rocks of the Skiddaw Group in contact with lavas and tuffs of the Borrowdale Volcanic Group.

Management

According to English Nature, the "ideal management for natural inland geological sites is the maintenance of rock exposure free of vegetation and, in some cases, the build-up of rock debris".

Other levels of protection

Special Area of Conservation

Since 2005 the SSSI has been protected under the Habitats Directive (European Union legislation) as part of the multi-site Special Area of Conservation known as Lake District High Fells. This designation was made in respect of the biological rather than the geological interest of the sites concerned. The SAC also includes Buttermere Fells SSSI.

World Heritage Site

The SSSI is within the Lake District National Park, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 2017 as a cultural landscape.

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