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Special Areas of Conservation

River Tweed

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country England/Scotland
Unitary Authority Eastern Scotland, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear
Centroid* NT503338
Latitude 55.6
Longitude -2.791666667
SAC EU Code UK0012691
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 3742.65
* This is the approximate central point of the SAC. In the case of large, linear or composite sites, this may not represent the location where a feature occurs within the SAC.
Location of River Tweed SAC

General site character

  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins) (1%)
  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (96%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (2%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (1%)

Download the Natura 2000 standard data form for this site as submitted to Europe (PDF <100kb)

Note When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • The Tweed represents sub-type 2 in the north-eastern part of its range. It is the most species-rich example, by far, of a river with Ranunculus in Scotland, and is the only site selected for this habitat in Scotland. The river has a high ecological diversity which reflects the mixed geology of the catchment. Stream water-crowfoot Ranunculus penicillatus ssp. pseudofluitans, a species of southern rivers and streams, here occurs at its most northerly location as does fan-leaved water-crowfoot R. circinatus, along with river water-crowfoot R. fluitans, common water-crowfoot R. aquatilis, pond water-crowfoot R. peltatus and a range of hybrids. The Tweed is also the most northerly site for flowering-rush Butomus umbellatus.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • 1106 Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

    The River Tweed supports a very large, high-quality salmon Salmo salar population in a river which drains a large catchment on the east coast of the UK, with sub-catchments in both Scotland and England. The Tweed is the best example in Britain of a large river showing a strong nutrient gradient along its length, with oligotrophic conditions in its headwaters, and nutrient-rich lowland conditions just before it enters the sea at Berwick. The high proportion of the River Tweed accessible to salmon, and the variety of habitat conditions in the river, has resulted in the Scottish section of the river supporting the full range of salmon life-history types, with sub-populations of spring, summer salmon and grilse all being present. The extensive system supports a significant proportion of the Scottish salmon resource. In recent years, the salmon catch in the River Tweed is the highest in Scotland, with up to 15% of all salmon caught. Considerable work has been done by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (and previously the Tweed River Purification Board) and the River Tweed Foundation in tackling pollution and easing the passage of salmon past artificial barriers in the river. This has reversed many of the river’s historical problems with water quality and access for salmon.

  • 1355 Otter Lutra lutra

    This large river system contains extensive water and riparian habitat suitable for otters Lutra lutra. The extensive tributary burns provide good feeding habitat. The area provides extensive suitable habitat for all the necessary aspects of otter’s life cycle and the site is a good representative of the south-east lowlands of Scotland and the north-east of England.

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.