The location of the Isles of Scilly provides it with unique environmental conditions. Lying on the South Western tip of the British Isles and with warming from the Gulf Stream, the Islands are home to many species of flora and fauna, some of which are found nowhere else in the UK (for example, the Scilly shrew and the Scilly bee).
The AONB features a wide range of habitats, wildlife and landforms ranging from coastal grassland and heathland, cliff tops and faces, wetlands and dunes, woodlands and rocky shores.
The natural environment and the mosaic of habitats and landforms enrich the lives of the local community within the AONB and form the basis of the tourism industry.
The AONB Partnership is, through the AONB Management Plan, committed to conserving and enhancing the variety of wildlife and habitats within the archipelago.
Special Features of Scilly’s Biodiversity and Geology:
- 26 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs);
- European marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated for features such as the Atlantic Grey Seal and Intertidal Sand Flats;
- Special Protection Area (SPA) designated for Storm Petrel and other coastal bird species;
- Internationally important Ramsar site designated for breeding populations of Lesser Black- Backed Gulls;
- Nationally uncommon and rare species occur within the AONB include Western Ramping-Fumitory and the Golden-hair lichen (UK Biodiversity Action Plan Species);
- Other important habitats include the rare and beautiful waved heath with heather and western gorse;
- Important species in the AONB include the Dwarf Pansy, Least Adder’s Tongue Fern, the St Martin’s ant, the Scilly Shrew and the Scilly Bee;
- Solid geology of fine and coarse grained granite, with overlying decayed granite (locally known as ‘ram’) and wind-blown sand;
- Raised beaches, including examples designated as SSSIs