A survey of 153 acid grasslands from the Atlantic biogeographic region of Europe indicates that chronic nitrogen deposition is changing plant species composition and soil and plant-tissue chemistry. Across the deposition gradient (2–44 kg N ha−1 yr−1) grass richness as a proportion of total species richness increased whereas forb richness decreased. Soil C:N ratio increased, but soil extractable nitrate and ammonium concentrations did not show any relationship with nitrogen deposition. The above-ground tissue nitrogen contents of three plant species were examined: Agrostis capillaris (grass), Galium saxatile (forb) and Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus (bryophyte). The tissue nitrogen content of neither vascular plant species showed any relationship with nitrogen deposition, but there was a weak positive relationship between R. squarrosus nitrogen content and nitrogen deposition. None of the species showed strong relationships between above-ground tissue N:P or C:N and nitrogen deposition, indicating that they are not good indicators of deposition rate.