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Special Areas of Conservation

Rannoch Moor

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Eastern Scotland, Highlands and Islands
Centroid* NN348519
Latitude 56.63027778
Longitude -4.693333333
SAC EU Code UK0012870
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 10113.57
* 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 Rannoch Moor SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (10%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (72%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (15%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (0.5%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (2%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (0.5%)

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

  • Rannoch Moor contains the most extensive complex of western blanket and soligenous/valley mire in Britain and supports a range of nutrient-poor freshwater habitats from dystrophic to oligotrophic waterbodies. The waterbodies vary in size from small lochans to relatively large lochs such as Loch Bà and Loch Laidon. Many of the small lochans have a predominantly peaty substrate resulting in a very low nutrient status, and consequently low species diversity. However the larger lochs support vegetation typical of oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters including water lobelia Lobelia dortmanna and bulbous rush Juncus bulbosus. In addition the site supports other uncommon species including least water-lily Nuphar pumila and floating bur-reed Sparganium angustifolium.

  • Rannoch Moor in the southern Scottish Highlands is representative of dystrophic pools formed in upland 7130 Blanket bogs. The dystrophic lochans of this site exhibit considerable diversity in size, depth and shoreline type, including those with mineral shorelines, a relatively uncommon variant. These upland dystrophic waters are characteristically shallow and base-poor, with an impoverished flora and fauna.

  • 7130 Blanket bogs (* if active bog)  * Priority feature

    Rannoch Moor lies in a high-level basin at about 300 m altitude. Its central location in Scotland is reflected in the gradient of variation in vegetation types that occurs across it. In the west of the site the vegetation has a high proportion of purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea, but further east this decreases while the proportion of woody dwarf-shrubs rises. Rannoch is a complex Blanket bog because much of the active peat is broken up between rocky knolls and small valleys, and there are many small ladder fens, which separate the ombrotrophic units into relatively small compartments. This is the only site in Britain at which Rannoch-rush Scheuchzeria palustris is found.

  • Rannoch Moor in west Scotland is an unusual ecological variant of transition mire developing in the midst of 7130 Blanket bogs, and supporting Rannoch-rush Scheuchzeria palustris at its only known location in the UK. Such vegetation, clearly belonging to the Scheuchzerietalia palustris order, is developed in regeneration surfaces within raised and blanket bogs elsewhere in Europe, but in this site Rannoch-rush is also found in situations where the blanket bog is locally influenced by mineral-rich groundwater. The community containing Rannoch-rush has some affinities to M1 Sphagnum auriculatum bog pool community and is a distinctive and unusual type. Other types of transition mire occur widely, including ladder fens.

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

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