Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre

Habitats Information

WSBRC Habitats Inventory

Cley Hill, WSBRC/Sharon Pilkington

WSBRC has mapped habitat and land-use parcels, within Wiltshire and Swindon using a mixture of field survey data and aerial photograph interpretation and from this produced a habitat inventory for the county. The inventory also includes point and polyline data where the identified area is too small an area to map according to a set of prescribed mapping rules. These GIS datasets do not represent full coverage for the whole county but presently cover around 85% in area.

All data types including Phase 1 and NVC survey were translated into the Integrated Habitat System. The data attributes note how certain we are that the habitat has been correctly identified, using determination and interpretation codes and descriptions. Where the data allows for interpretation of a parcel to a priority habitat type this can also be recorded within the attribute data and used to select these areas only. 


What is IHS?

The Integrated Habitat System (IHS) integrates existing classifications in use in the UK with particular emphasis on Broad Habitat Types, Priority Habitat Types, Annex 1 of the Habitats Directive and Phase 1. Standard habitat definitions from these classifications are combined into a hierarchy starting at the level of Broad Habitat Types, through vegetation communities to habitat-specific features, such as management practices. More information on IHS.   


Natural England Single Habitats Layer Dataset (Priority Habitat Inventory)

Our priority habitat data was last provided to Natural England in 2013 to feed into their national habitat inventories. Natural England subsequently replaced these inventories with a Single Habitats Layer Dataset (Priority Habitat Inventory).

While it incorporates some of our data this dataset is far less accurate than the WSBRC habitat inventory for Wiltshire & Swindon and is not suitable for making decisions at a local level.

We strongly recommend that enquirers contact WSBRC for habitats information in our area, by submitting an information request form, rather than relying upon the Single Habitats Layer from Natural England.