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Special Areas of Conservation


Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Highlands and Islands
Centroid* NC269192
Latitude 58.12833333
Longitude -4.940277778
SAC EU Code UK0012787
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 1283.21
* 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 Inchnadamph SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (1%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (54%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (21%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (6.5%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (3.5%)
  • Alpine and sub-Alpine grassland (10%)
  • Coniferous woodland (0.5%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (3.5%)

Download the Standard Data Form for this site (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

  • Inchnadamph is the most northerly site selected for Sub-Arctic Salix spp. scrub and has a unique development of whortle-leaved willow Salix myrsinites scrub on limestone at low altitude. This is the largest area of this form of Salix scrub in the UK. The scrub occurs in and around outcrops of Durness limestone, and Inchnadamph and Rassal are the only siteswhere this habitat type is solely developed on limestone. There are significant transitions to 8240 Limestone pavements, for which the site is also selected.

  • Inchnadamph is one of five sites representing low-altitude CG13 Dryas octopetalaCarex flacca heath, and has the second most extensive development of this sub-type of Alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands in the UK. DryasCarex heath at Inchnadamph occurs from 100 m up to around 450 m, similar to Rassal. The site is the best example of the transition from low to high altitude alpine calcareous grassland. As the site is at a higher altitude than Durness there are more arctic-alpines in the flora, including purple saxifrage Saxifraga oppositifolia, yellow saxifrage S. aizoides, moss campion Silene acaulis, alpine meadow-rue Thalictrum alpinum and hair sedge Carex capillaris, while some low-altitude species are lacking. The site shows the transition between low- and high-altitude Alpine and subalpine calcareous grassland, and occupies a key position in the range of variation shown by this habitat type in the UK.

  • The petrifying springs with tufa formation on Dalradian Durness limestone at Inchnadamph are considered to be the best examples in the north-west Highlands on account of the large number of springs developed and their overall extent. Inaccessible springs on rocky slopes show a more continuous moss development while others are accessed by deer and are more open in structure as a result of trampling. They are formed on the slopes below outcrops of Durness dolomite. Petrifying springs occur at relatively low altitude at this site.

  • Inchnadamph is representative of calcareous and calcshist screes at low altitude in the north of Scotland. Screes of Durness limestone are extensive and support a diverse calcicolous flora. Species present include the limestone fern Gymnocarpium robertianum, holly-fern Polystichum lonchitis, hard shield fern Polystichum aculeatum, herb-Robert Geranium robertianum, the lady’s-mantle Alchemilla glabra, alpine lady’s-mantle Alchemilla alpina and, unusually in this context, primrose Primula vulgaris. Many calcicolous bryophytes are also found.

  • Inchnadamph is representative of Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation in the north of Scotland. This habitat type occurs extensively on northerly crags of Durness dolomitic limestone at low altitude. It has a diverse flora, rich in characteristic northern species including abundant holly-fern Polystichum lonchitis, dark-red helleborine Epipactis atrorubens, bearded couch Elymus caninus and rock sedge Carex rupestris. There are rare sub-montane calcicole bryophytes associated with the crevice flora, such as Tortula princeps, Amblystegium compactum and Seligeria trifaria.

  • 8240 Limestone pavements  * Priority feature

    Inchnadamph is one of four sites representing Limestone pavements on Cambro–Ordovician Durness limestone in north-west Scotland. It is one of the most floristically-rich limestone pavement sites in Scotland. The communities have some species in common with the more maritime communities on Strath, including burnet rose Rosa pimpinellifolia and stone bramble Rubus saxatilis, but are montane in character. For example, holly-fern Polystichum lonchitis is abundant and whortle-leaved willow Salix myrsinites is notable here as it occurs on limestone pavement. When S. myrsinites is abundant, the habitat is referable to Annex I type 4080 Sub-Arctic Salix spp. scrub, for which the site is also selected.

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

  • Not Applicable

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

  • Not Applicable

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