South Dorset Coast SSSI - BLACK HEAD (South) (004)
Staff member responsible: MATTHEW LOW
Unit Id: 1005415
Unit area (ha): 11.903
Unit Status: Live Gridref: SY 732 818
Date of last site check: Checked by:
Condition and Comments (click for history): Favourable Assessed by: MELANIE, Natural England ENSIS HEATH
Last assessed: 12/03/2015 Last assessment field visit: 05/03/2015
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Last CSM assessment: 12/03/2015
Estimated year unit will go Favourable: Confidence in estimate:

Unit 4 was assessed from the beach at low tide with Richard Edmonds and Sam Scriven, Jurassic Coast Team. The beach and exposed ledges were in favourable condition and the effect of the storms in the extreme weather of the 2014 winter could clearly be seen with the foot of the clay cliffs deeply incised and many tree roots exposed. At Osmington Mills a significant landslip has occurred since Dec 2014 below the car park. Shingle and boulders have been moved and deposited at the top of the beach. As no detrimental anthropogenic impacts could be seen on the beach the GCR interest and annual drift line community remain in favourable condition. The base of the soft cliffs has been extensively scoured by the storms and fossils were found either just partially buried or washed out. There was no evidence of over-collection of fossils.

The soft clay cliffs are actively slipping and there were patches of freshly exposed clay, seepages and small streams across the cliff face. In placed the cliff face has moved inland behind the line of the SSSI. Vegetation is a mix of scrub willow carr with swampy pools; blackthorn; bramble and open grassy glades. Coltsfoot and phragmites are pioneer species on the slumping Kimmeridge clay. There is no domestic stock grazing on the cliffs and the suite of habitats and species that are present from year to year is influenced solely by the geology and coastal environment and natural processes prevail. The habitat for the invertebrate assemblages (F11 unshaded early successional mosaic) and (W12 slow-flowing water) was favourable and the proportion of wet and drier soils will vary from year to year as the cliff slips and erodes. Japanese knotweed was not seen but could have been missed (it is present in unit 1) due to the time of year and the unit should be searched for knotweed in the summer months. Garden waste ie conifer brash and wayleave cutting brash were found on the cliff face to the west and south of the car park at Osmigton Mills. Photographs and JCT report are stored on TRIM

Number of adverse condition reasons: 0
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