Project Background

St Davids coast has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) on account of its coastal slope and heathland vegetation communities. ADAS prides itself on its botanical assessment capability. Therefore we were delighted to be selected by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to undertake a National Vegetation Classification (NVC) survey of the area in 2015.

Survey protocol followed published standard procedure, which requires a high level of botanical skill and expertise. Vegetation was mapped by ADAS ecologists onto ortho-rectified aerial photographs, at a scale of 1:5000, and digitisation of data and survey maps was carried out by the ADAS GIS team, using OS MasterMap data supplied by NRW in Esri ArcGIS software.

The NVC survey encompassed a site area of over 550ha, with a total of 1035 polygons mapped to sub-community level or to mosaics of one or more sub-communities.

The ADAS ecology survey team identified and mapped a total of 37 NVC communities and 49 sub-communities. Over 190 quadrats of botanical data were collected covering five broad NVC habitat groups.

These were:

  • Maritime communities
  • Woodland and scrub communities
  •  Grassland communities
  • Mire communities
  • Swamp and tall herb fern communities

A range of scarce or notable plant species were also recorded, a number of which are of national significance. These included good populations of Hairy Greenweed and Spiked Speedwell, both Nationally Scarce species. The detailed NVC maps and associated report will allow NRW to update their baseline data set for coastal habitats, inform management and focus future vegetation monitoring.

Scheme: National Vegetation Survey of Special Area of Conservation
Client: Natural Resources Wales
Location: St. Davids Coast Special Area of Conservation
Project type: Habitat mapping to inform SAC management
Date: August/September 2015
Services: Habitat mapping, GIS, Botanical survey, Reporting

Contact us

Contact ecologist Steven Shepherd at for more information.
Tel: 01974847000