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Special Areas of Conservation

Ben Wyvis

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Highlands and Islands
Centroid* NH480686
Latitude 57.68166667
Longitude -4.55
SAC EU Code UK0012950
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 5385.22
* 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 Ben Wyvis SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (0.5%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (52%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (16%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (2.5%)
  • Alpine and sub-Alpine grassland (26%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (1%)
  • Coniferous woodland (1%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (1%)

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

  • Ben Wyvis has extensive combinations of Alpine and Boreal heaths characteristic of both the eastern and northern Highlands. H13 Calluna vulgarisCladonia arbuscula heath and H19 Vaccinium myrtillusCladonia arbuscula heath are well-developed, with an abundance of lichens characteristic of the eastern Highlands. The abundance of lichens in these communities on this site is greater than on any other site in the northern and north-west Highlands, although the extent of the community is less than at Strathglass. The northern H17 CallunaArctostaphylos alpinus community is particularly finely developed on windswept lower summits and shoulders. Extensive H22 Vaccinium myrtillusRubus chamaemorus heaths dominated by heather are present on the higher slopes and have an unusual mix and abundance of northern species, including cloudberry Rubus chamaemorus, dwarf cornel Cornus suecica, mountain bearberry Arctostaphylos alpinus and dwarf birch Betula nana. On the highest slopes, where snow tends to accumulate, snow-bed H18 Vaccinium myrtillusDeschampsia flexuosa heath is extensive. Transitions to 4030 European dry heath occur below, especially to H12 Calluna vulgarisVaccinium myrtillus heath, which is extensive on the lower slopes.

  • Ben Wyvis is representative of the species-poor form of U10 Carex bigelowiiRacomitrium lanuginosum moss-heath of the north and west of Scotland. Although Siliceous alpine and boreal grasslands are not as extensive on Ben Wyvis as on some other hills, the site has the largest continuous single tract of this sub-type in the UK, covering almost the whole of the summit plateau. The habitat type is developed on base-poor schist. There is also a large extent of the associated Rhytidiadelphus loreus moss-rich grassland on the edges of the CarexRacomitrium moss-heath, where snow tends to drift. The site is little-disturbed and shows a particularly luxuriant moss-cover. U7 Nardus strictaCarex bigelowii grass-heath is also well-represented and U8 Carex bigelowiiPolytrichum alpinum sedge-heath is present locally. Late-lie moss- and dwarf-herb-dominated snow-bed communities (U11 Polytrichum sexangulareKiaeria starkei snow-bed, U12 Salix herbaceaRacomitrium heterostichum snow-bed and U14 Alchemilla alpinaSibbaldia procumbens dwarf-herb community) are represented on Ben Wyvis but are small in extent.

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

    Ben Wyvis lies between the high-altitude sites of the Grampian Mountains and the northern peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland, and supports species and features typical of both these areas. Blanket bog occurs across a wide altitudinal range but of particular note are the extensive areas of uneroded high-altitude bog supporting cloudberry Rubus chamaemorus, alpine bearberry Arctostaphylos alpinus and dwarf birch Betula nana.

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.