Dee Cliffs are located 3 km west of Heswall, immediately adjacent to the Dee Estuary and rise to 15 m above sea level.
This site contains the best known example of clay cliff and bank habitat in Merseyside, as well as some marl pits which have a rich flora and fauna and an area of herb-rich neutral grassland.
The base-rich clay cliffs support an open grassland community which is dominated by Red Fescue (Festuca rubra). False oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius), Early hair-grass (Aira praecox), Barren Brome (Bromus sterilis), Quaking-grass (Briza media), Perennial rye-grass (Lolium perenne), Yellow oat-grass (Trisetum flavescens) and Tall Fescue (Festuca arundinacea) are the other common grass species.
The herb flora is rich with a wide range of lime-loving plants present, some of which are at the northern limits of their British distribution, for example Yellow-wort (Blackstonia perfoliata). Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea), Bristly Oxtongue (Picris echioides), Autumn Hawkbit (Leontodon auiumnalis), Oxeye Daisy (Leucamhemum vulgare), Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum), Fairy Flax (Linum catharticum), Dyers Greenweed (Genista tinctoria) and Common Restharrow (Ononis repens) are some of the other species also found on the cliffs.
The maritime influence is seen in the presence of Sand Couch (Elytriga juncea) Lyme-grass (Elymus arenarius), Sea Rocket (Calki1e maritima) and Sand Sedge (Carex arenaria).
English Nature's Citation Details
- Date Notified: 10 MARCH 1994 0151 648 4371
- File Ref: SJ 28/7
- County: MERSEYSIDE
- Site Name: DEE CLIFFS
- District: WIRRAL
- Status: Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) notified under Section 2S of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
- Local Planning Authority: Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
- National Grid Reference: SJ 238 832
- Area: 14.39 (ha) 35.55 (ac)
- Ordnance Survey Sheet 1:50,000: 108
- Date Notified (Under 1949 Act): 1979
- Date Notified (Under 1981 Act): 1983
- Date of Last Revision: 1994
1. This site is adjacent to the Dee Estuary SSSI and lies partly within the Wirral Country Park.
2. Site boundary changed at renotification by partial deletion in 1983.
3. Site boundary changed at renotification by partial deletion in 1994.
4. Thurstaston Geological Conservation Review (GCR) site is included within this site.