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Special Areas of Conservation

Monach Islands

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Extra-Regio, Highlands and Islands
Centroid* NF644622
Latitude 57.525
Longitude -7.608333333
SAC EU Code UK0012694
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 3646.56
* 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 Monach Islands SAC

General site character

  • Marine areas, Sea inlets (83.7%)
  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins) (3%)
  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (8%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (5%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (0.3%)

Download the 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

  • Monach Islands complex is representative of machair types found in the Outer Hebrides and is similar to that found on North Uist. These islands consist almost entirely of machair and support some of the best examples of grazed uncultivated machair in the Outer Hebrides. There are rich calcareous grasslands as well as transitions to loch and acidic grassland. The islands are separated from outside human influences by 10┬ákm of sea, and have been uninhabited and uncultivated since 1947. There are few human visitors, and therefore little interference with ecological processes compared with other machair systems. They provide a reference point for measuring the impact of human activities on machair systems.

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

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

  • 1364 Grey seal Halichoerus grypus

    The Monach Islands, off the Outer Hebrides, offer a wide area of largely undisturbed habitat for breeding grey seal Halichoerus grypus, and there is easy access to the grassy swards and dune systems of the islands. These islands hold the largest breeding colony in the UK, contributing over 20% of annual UK pup production.

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

  • Not Applicable

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