Species rich coastal grasslands and inland lowland meadows are recognised through designations including Special Area of Conservation, Site of Special Scientific Interest, Important Plant Areas and County Wildlife Site.
A total of six Special Areas of Conservation are found within, overlapping or immediately adjacent to the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) boundary. Within the AONB there are 2017 hectares of nationally designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest at 18 sites including two National Nature Reserves. Almost two thirds of these sites extend beyond the AONB boundary.
There are nine Geological Conservation Review Sites and 27 Regionally Important Geological Sites within and close to the AONB boundary. The part of the AONB within Torbay forms a significant part of the English Riviera Geopark.
The Environmental Stewardship programme has continued to yield benefits for nature conservation including species such as the cirl bunting and greater horseshoe bat.
The national and international importance of the AONB’s marine habitats has been given much greater prominence with the recent designation of new marine Special Areas of Conservation and the proposal for a number of statutory Marine Conservation Zones.