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Special Areas of Conservation

Keen of Hamar

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Highlands and Islands
Centroid* HP645098
Latitude 60.7675
Longitude -0.82
SAC EU Code UK0012815
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 39.87
* 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 Keen of Hamar SAC

General site character

  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (3%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (44.4%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (24%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (28.6%)

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

  • Keen of Hamar has the largest surviving area in the UK of near-natural Calaminarian grasslands on serpentine. The site is rich in rare northern species, such as arctic sandwort Arenaria norvegica ssp. norvegica and northern rock-cress Arabis petraea, and includes the endemic Shetland mouse-ear Cerastium nigrescens, found only on serpentine rocks at this site. The site has ecological features and floristic composition similar to those of serpentine grasslands in Scandinavia, where the habitat type is also rare.

  • Keen of Hamar, in the north of Shetland, is the most northerly site selected to represent calcareous and calcshist screes in Scotland. It is highly unusual in that the communities have developed on serpentine rock debris, which occurs extensively throughout the site and forms a mosaic with 6130 Calaminarian grasslands of the Violetalia calaminariae at low altitude. The scree supports a flora that is unique in the number of endemic races and subspecies it contains. These include moss campion Silene acaulis, northern rock-cress Arabis petraea, arctic sandwort Arenaria norvegica ssp. norvegica and Shetland mouse-ear Cerastium nigrescens.

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

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