A range of Sphagnum mosses occur including less common species
such as S magellanicum and S molle. Lichens, especially
species of the diverse genus Cladonia, are a very important
group on heathland. The international importance of Surrey’s heathland
and mire habitats has been recognised by designation of a substantial
part (Thursley, Ash, Pirbright and Chobham) as a candidate Special
Area for Conservation (cSAC) under the European Habitats Directive.
Fungi are abundant on lowland heathland, this habitat providing
a range of conditions in which a varied and often specialised array
of fungi has arisen. In late summer and autumn, increasing numbers
of people visit heathland sites to collect edible fungi such as
cep Boletus edulis and the related bay bolete Boletus
badius. Over collecting may threaten the long-term future of
such species on our heathland. In addition to the larger fungi,
many microfungi are intimately associated with the heathland flora.
Specialised habitats within heathland communities often support
interesting and uncommon species. For example, bare peat soil supports
Mycena megaspora, and burnt areas often have a fleeting but
characteristic and restricted range of fungi. The large cup-fungi
Anthracobia subatra was recently reported as new to the British
Isles based on a collection from an old fire site on Witley Common.
Mammals and reptiles
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