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Special Areas of Conservation

Creag Meagaidh

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Highlands and Islands
Centroid* NN451886
Latitude 56.9625
Longitude -4.548611111
SAC EU Code UK0012955
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 6143.46
* 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 Creag Meagaidh SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (1%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (10%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (36.5%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (1%)
  • Alpine and sub-Alpine grassland (32.5%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (10%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (9%)

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

  • Creag Meagaidh is representative of W20 Salix lapponumLuzula sylvatica Sub-Arctic Salix spp. scrub on less calcareous schist in the west-central Highlands at moderately high altitude (600750 m). The site includes examples of scrub in an exceptionally wide range of different situations and associated vegetation types. Clumps of willows are widely scattered in corries on crags and rock ledges, along rocky or steep burn-sides, in boulder fields, in CarexJuncus flushes, and in flushed ground in association with mountain saxifrage Saxifraga aizoides. Downy willow Salix lapponum is the most common species, while mountain willow S. arbuscula and dark-leaved willow S. myrsinifolia are also represented.

  • Creag Meagaidh has an extensive high plateau with schistose rocks similar to those on Drumochter Hills. The site contains a large area of Siliceous alpine and boreal grasslands with the full range of community types characteristic of the central Highlands. U10 Carex bigelowiiRacomitrium lanuginosum moss-heath is the dominant type on the high plateau, while the species-rich sub-type is also represented as small stands, mostly in association with solifluction terracing. There are large stands of U7 Nardus strictaCarex bigelowii grass-heath and U8 Carex bigelowiiPolytrichum alpinum sedge-heath is extensive on the summit of Creag Meagaidh. U9 Juncus trifidusRacomitrium lanuginosum rush-heath is developed locally on exposed ridges. Despite the similarity of rock type, the proportions of the communities present on Creag Meagaidh are different from those on Drumochter Hills. The dominance of CarexRacomitrium moss-heath on Creag Meagaidh is probably due to a more oceanic climate, while the smaller extent of NardusCarex grass-heath and CarexPolytrichum sedge-heath compared with Drumochter Hills is due to less prolonged snow cover on the high plateau. There are transitions to extensive late-lie moss-dominated snow-bed communities (U11 Polytrichum sexangulareKiaeria starkei snow-bed and U12 Salix herbaceaRacomitrium heterostichum snow-bed) and flushed U13 Deschampsia cespitosaGalium saxatile grassland. U14 Alchemilla alpinaSibbaldia procumbens dwarf-herb community is also represented.

  • Creag Meagaidh has examples of hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities representative of Moine schist rocks in the central Highlands. The habitat is moderately well-developed and largely confined to ungrazed cliff ledges but unusually occurs in at least one boulder field. The characteristic species of the community are well-represented, and include roseroot Sedum rosea, wild angelica Angelica sylvestris, lady’s mantle Alchemilla glabra, globeflower Trollius europaeus, great wood-rush Luzula sylvatica and water avens Geum rivale. Wet or moist ground supports scurvygrass Cochlearia officinalis, marsh-marigold Caltha palustris and common valerian Valeriana officinalis. Unusually there are tall herb ledges at low altitude with species such as wood vetch Vicia sylvatica and melancholy thistle Cirsium heterophyllum. The habitat grades into 4080 Sub-Arctic Salix spp. scrub, and downy willow Salix lapponum occurs among tall herbs on some ledges.

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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