|Unitary Authority||Eastern Scotland, Highlands and Islands|
|SAC EU Code||UK0012901|
|Status||Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)|
|* 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.|
General site character
Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (7%)
Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (8%)
Dry grassland, Steppes (30.5%)
Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (22.5%)
Alpine and sub-Alpine grassland (27%)
Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (5%)
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
Ben Heasgarnich is one of four sites selected in the Breadalbane Hills of the southern Highlands and represents Sub-Arctic Salix spp. scrub up to high altitude (950 m) on highly to moderately calcareous schist. W20 Salix lapponum – Luzula sylvatica scrub is widely-developed on the site, although it is virtually confined to crags and rock ledges, where the individual colonies of willows are small. The most abundant willow species are downy willow Salix lapponum, mountain willow S. arbuscula, whortle-leaved willow S. myrsinites and net-leaved willow S. reticulata. The scrub is associated with a rich flora of tall herbs and with stands of 6170 Alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands.
Ben Heasgarnich is the best representative for Siliceous alpine and boreal grassland of the Dalradian schist hills of the Breadalbane range. All the NVC types belonging to the habitat are represented, with U7 Nardus stricta – Carex bigelowii grass-heath and U10 Carex bigelowii – Racomitrium lanuginosum moss-heath being the predominant communities on the high ground of the summits and summit ridges. The underlying schists are base-rich and Ben Heasgarnich is primarily of importance for supporting the largest extent in the SAC series of species-rich Carex – Racomitrium moss-heath. This has an abundance of arctic-alpine species, such as moss campion Silene acaulis, mossy cyphel Minuartia sedoides, alpine bistort Persicaria vivipara and alpine meadow-rue Thalictrum alpinum. There are also some small but notably species-rich examples of late-lie snow-beds belonging to U14 Alchemilla alpina – Sibbaldia procumbens dwarf-herb community. Moss-dominated snow-beds are well-represented but are of small extent.
Ben Heasgarnich is one of four sites selected in the Breadalbane Hills of the southern Highlands to represent high-altitude Alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands. Ben Heasgarnich has moderately extensive CG12 Festuca ovina – Alchemilla alpina – Silene acaulis dwarf-herb community on high corrie slopes. There are also some well-developed areas of high-altitude CG14 Dryas octopetala – Silene acaulis ledge community on steep, rocky slopes. The habitat type supports an outstanding arctic-alpine flora, with many rare species, including alpine mouse-ear Cerastium alpinum, hoary whitlowgrass Draba incana, cyphel Minuartia sedoides and hair sedge Carex capillaris. There are transitions to 6230 Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on siliceous substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in continental Europe) and to other alpine plant communities.
6230 Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe) * Priority feature
Ben Heasgarnich is representative of species-rich Nardus grasslands on the base-rich schists of the Breadalbane range in the southern Scottish Highlands. Ben Heasgarnich has an extensive area of species-rich Nardus grassland. With Meall na Samhna and Ben Lui it contains the most species-rich and diverse examples of high-altitude grassland, and there is a rich arctic-alpine flora, including alpine bistort Persicaria vivipara, sheathed sedge Carex vaginata, the lady’s-mantle Alchemilla filicaulis and hair sedge Carex capillaris. There are transitions to floristically-rich 6170 Alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands. These Nardus-rich grasslands are notable for supporting a large population of the mountain ringlet butterfly Erebia epiphron.
Ben Heasgarnich in the Breadalbane range in the southern Scottish Highlands is representative of hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities up to high altitudes on calcareous schist. Diverse and well-developed examples of the habitat type occur across the site, with rarer arctic-alpines including rock whitlowgrass Draba norvegica, alpine mouse-ear Cerastium alpinum and black alpine-sedge Carex atrata. The site is unusual because, in places, plants characteristic of the ledge flora, such as lady’s-mantle Alchemilla glabra, water avens Geum rivale, wood crane’s-bill Geranium sylvaticum and globeflower Trollius europaeus, are found in moist grassland below the crags.
7240 Alpine pioneer formations of the Caricion bicoloris-atrofuscae * Priority feature
Ben Heasgarnich is one of three sites in the Breadalbane range in the southern Scottish Highlands representing the range of variation of alpine pioneer formations up to high altitude. High-altitude mires are frequent on the site and include both open types of M11 Carex demissa – Saxifraga aizoides mire and more closed types of M12 Carex saxatilis mire. Rarer species present include scorched alpine-sedge Carex atrofusca, false sedge Kobresia simpliciuscula, variegated horsetail Equisetum variegatum, chestnut rush Juncus castaneus and two-flowered rush J. biglumis.
Ben Heasgarnich in the central Breadalbane Hills in the southern Highlands is representative of high-altitude Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation. There are extensive calcareous schist outcrops with a wide range of characteristic chasmophytic plant species. Of particular interest is the very rare high-altitude crevice flora, which includes species such as mountain bladder-fern Cystopteris montana, oblong woodsia Woodsia ilvensis and rock whitlowgrass Draba norvegica. This is one of the most important sites in the UK for arctic-alpine flora because of the number of rare species present.
Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site
7230 Alkaline fens
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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