Strategic Nature Areas

Strategic Nature Areas


SNAs are NOT designated areas.  They are areas of Devon’s countryside which contain higher than average concentrations of existing wildlife habitats such as native woodlands, flower-rich grasslands, bogs and heathland (many of these habitats will have an international, national or local designation).  For simplicity, each SNA is classified on the map according to the dominant habitat type (e.g. East Devon Pebblebed Heaths is classed as lowland heathland). However, the majority of SNAs are a mix of different wildlife habitats and other land uses.

Profiles were drafted for most SNAs in ~ 2009 to provide basic information (including maps) on habitats and species in the SNA.  Find an SNA in your area and download the profile.

The aim for each SNA is to ensure that the condition, area and distribution of the wildlife habitats within it can support populations of characteristic species e.g. the area and condition of habitat at Rackenford Moor SNA should support populations of marsh fritillary butterfly. 

An example map of an SNA profile: East Devon Pebblebed Heaths.

The SNA profiles are provided here for non-commercial use, and cannot be copied, republished, or used to inform planning or statutory process’s, without DBRC consent


Devon’s Nature Map is used to focus efforts for maintaining, restoring and re-creating habitats and the conservation of associated species.  Example uses include: Providing the focus for the DWT Working Wetlands project

Providing the focus for landscape conservation efforts within Dartmoor National Park and the development of Living Dartmoor.  Note that SNAs are known as Key Wildlife Areas within the Dartmoor Strategy.  A delivery plan is being developed for each Key Wildlife Area

Providing the focus for East Devon AONB work on the Umborne Community Grassland Project

Developing a strategic approach to locating compensatory habitats required as a result of some unavoidable development impacts  –

Targeting of funding such as the New England Land Management Scheme. 

In order to ensure that any work in SNAs strengthens landscape character please see

Updates to SNA boundaries/profiles

  • 2010.  Craig Dixon (Devon Biodiversity Officer) carried out a consultation process across Devon to update the South West Nature Map SNA boundaries.
  • 2013.  Changes made to SNA boundaries by East Devon AONB (Pete Youngman) and Dartmoor National Park Authority (Norman Baldock).
  • 2014.  Changes brought together by DBRC to create the Rebuilding Devon’s Nature Map.

Future updates to SNA boundaries/profiles – the process…

  • Any boundary changes to SNAs should follow the principles set out in Rebuilding Biodiversity in the South West – technical manual. SNA boundaries have been amended in the East Devon AONB and the AONB method can be tweaked for use in other areas. 
  • Boundary changes / updated SNA profiles should then be sent to DBRC’s Manager for sign off by the Devon Nature Map group.
  • Provided everything is ok DBRC will then place the amended SNAs boundaries/profiles on its website.