The Chew Valley is rich in protected areas including the Chew Valley Lake which as well as being a reservoir is an important habitat for water birds. The following types of protected areas are strictly excluded from our consideration for opportunity woodland although it may be that increased tree cover in some of them is appropriate.
- Priority Habitats including semi-improved grasslands
- Special Protected Areas (Birds)
- Special Areas of Conservation (Habitats)
- Ramsar Sites (Wetlands)
- Sites of Special Scientific Interest
- National Nature Reserves
- Local Nature Reserves
- Natural England Priority Habitats
Quite a few of these protection categories overlap. Much of the area immediately surrounding the lake and the lake itself are protected. Grassland meadow habitats above North and South Widcombe and around Follow Farm are excluded from our analysis as are good-quality semi-improved grasslands along the river Chew and on slopes above Chew Stoke and grazing marsh to the south east of the lake.