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Special Areas of Conservation

Beinn a' Ghlo

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Eastern Scotland
Centroid* NN959728
Latitude 56.83472222
Longitude -3.705555556
SAC EU Code UK0012957
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 8080.33
* 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 Beinn a' Ghlo SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (0.5%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (15.8%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (61.4%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (13.6%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (0.1%)
  • Alpine and sub-Alpine grassland (3.4%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (0.1%)
  • Coniferous woodland (0.6%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (4.5%)

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

  • Beinn a’Ghlo has a similar range of European dry heaths to the Cairngorms and similarly is representative of the upland heaths of the cool and less oceanic north-east of Scotland. The dry heaths are even more predominant than on the Cairngorms, occupying almost half of the total area of the site. The principal NVC types present are H12 Calluna vulgarisVaccinium myrtillus heath, H18 Vaccinium myrtillusDeschampsia flexuosa heath and H16 Calluna vulgarisArctostaphylos uva-ursi heath, mostly occurring on acid soils developed over quartzite, giving good examples of species-poor heath. The most extensive type from low to high altitudes on the site, typical of the eastern Highlands, is CallunaVaccinium heath. There are also good examples of snow-bed forms of VacciniumDeschampsia heath developed at the upper limit of dry heath in which late snow-lie causes a replacement of heather Calluna by bilberry Vaccinium spp. On gradations to limestone soils there are some examples of herb-rich heath. There are well-developed transitions to 4060 Alpine and Boreal heaths.

  • Beinn a’Ghlo has a wide range of Alpine and Boreal heaths (H13 Calluna vulgarisCladonia arbuscula, H18 Vaccinium myrtillusDeschampsia flexuosa, H19 Vaccinium myrtillusCladonia arbuscula, H20 Vaccinium myrtillusRacomitrium lanuginosum and H22 Vaccinium myrtillusRubus chamaemorus heaths) representative of the eastern Scottish Highlands. As in the Cairngorms these heaths, especially the CallunaCladonia and VacciniumCladonia communities, have an abundance of lichens, especially the larger Cladonia species and other fruticose lichens. The range of heaths includes a good representation of types, including forms on extremely exposed ground and contrasting heaths of sheltered snow-beds. There are widespread gradations to extensive 4030 European dry heaths.

  • Beinn a’Ghlo is an example of species-rich Nardus grasslands characteristic of the eastern Scottish Highlands. Beinn a’Ghlo has a large area of species-rich Nardus grassland, the second most extensive area in the site series, developed on schistose rocks and grades to 6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) on limestone. Both CG10 Festuca ovinaAgrostis capillarisThymus praecox grassland and CG11 Festuca ovinaAgrostis capillarisAlchemilla alpina grassland are well-represented throughout the altitudinal range of the habitat type on the site (300750 m). The moderate altitude limits the range of arctic-alpines. There is a good representation of more widespread species, including the lady’s-mantle Alchemilla filicaulis, alpine bistort Persicaria vivipara, purple saxifrage Saxifraga oppositifolia, sibbaldia Sibbaldia procumbens, mountain pansy Viola lutea and hair sedge Carex capillaris. A few rarer arctic-alpines, such as yellow oxytropis Oxytropis campestris and alpine meadow-grass Poa alpina, are also present.

  • Beinn a’Ghlo represents upland petrifying springs with tufa formations in Perthshire. Springs are associated with extensive exposures of metamorphosed limestone of the Dalradian series. Tufa-forming mounds are frequent and are found with other qualifying habitats (e.g. 7240 Alpine pioneer formations of Caricion bicoloris-atrofuscae, 6230 species-rich Nardus grasslands, and 8240 Limestone pavements). At Fealar Gorge tufa formations are found with mountain avens Dryas octopetala within the highest upland birch woodland known in Britain.

  • Beinn a’Ghlo is representative of flushes at moderate altitude in the eastern Highlands. Open flushes of M11 Carex demissaSaxifraga aizoides mire are frequent, and species include yellow saxifrage Saxifraga aizoides, Scottish asphodel Tofieldia pusilla, three-flowered rush Juncus triglumis and alpine rush J. alpinoarticulatus. The site is of particular interest because of the transitions between alpine pioneer flushes and 7230 Alkaline fens at moderate altitudes.

  • Beinn a’Ghlo represents Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation in the eastern Highlands, with additional rare species. There are extensive outcrops of limestone in Glen Tilt, up to about 700 m altitude. The flora includes a large colony of the rare yellow oxytropis Oxytropis campestris, while other montane species include mountain avens Dryas octopetala, rock speedwell Veronica fruticans, rock sedge Carex rupestris, hoary whitlowgrass Draba incana, holly fern Polystichum lonchitis and green spleenwort Asplenium viride.

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

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