The caves and veteran trees provide valuable winter roosts for bats, including the rare greater and lesser horseshoe bats and Daubenton’s bat. Look out for them at dusk.
Leigh Woods is a very rich site for invertebrates, including pauper pug and silky wave moths, white letter hairstreak butterfly, many beetles, spiders and flies.
The woods are home to a good variety of birds including the Red List (threatened) bullfinch, marsh tit and song thrush. Peregrine falcon and ravens breed in the Avon Gorge, listen out for their calls.
Leigh Woods is known for its exceptionally rich limestone rock flora which includes nationally rare plants such as Bristol rock-cress and western spiked speedwell. Honewort, fingered sedge, dwarf sedge, dwarf mouse-ear, and rock stone crop are also rarities that can be found in the area.
Little–robin and lesser meadow-rue, both of restricted national distribution, have been recorded at the gorge, fly orchid and bee orchid have also been recorded here. Angular Solomon’s seal occurs in the woodland.
The Whitebeams of Leigh Woods
The Avon Gorge is probably the richest site for Whitebeams in the world, there are several species which only grow here. The National Nature Reserve is a very important site for these whitebeams, for example it has a large percentage of the population of three endemic species: Bristol whitebeam, Leigh Woods whitebeam and Wilmott’s whitebeam.