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Special Areas of Conservation


Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Highlands and Islands
Centroid* NM433312
Latitude 56.40277778
Longitude -6.161111111
SAC EU Code UK0012958
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 378.33
* 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 Ardmeanach SAC

General site character

  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (3%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (15%)
  • Alpine and sub-Alpine grassland (80%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (2%)

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

  • Ardmeanach is one of five sites representing the range of low-altitude sub-types of species-rich Nardus grasslands on the oceanic west coast of Scotland. Ardmeanach is one of the most westerly and maritime of the sites selected. The species-rich Nardus grasslands occur extensively as short swards on a large basalt escarpment. The most extensive community represented is CG10 Festuca ovinaAgrostis capillarisThymus praecox grassland, but on more northerly-facing slopes this is replaced by CG11 Festuca ovinaAgrostis capillarisAlchemilla alpina grassland. A range of sub-types of these two communities is represented. Sub-maritime variants of the habitat are developed on the lower parts of the escarpment, with the maritime species sea plantain Plantago maritima, buck’s-horn plantain Plantago coronopus and wild carrot Daucus carota. Dry and wetter sub-types are both represented. There is a high plant diversity, including lowland species, such as common centaury Centaurium erythraea, fragrant agrimony Agrimonia procera, red clover Trifolium pratense and false-brome Brachypodium sylvaticum, as well as upland, northern species, such as globeflower Trollius europaeus, the lady’s-mantle Alchemilla glabra and northern bedstraw Galium boreale. There are transitions to maritime grassland and species-rich dry Calluna heath.

  • The upper base-rich basalt cliffs of Ardmeanach support well-developed examples of hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities in the relatively mild south-west of Scotland. The stands represent some of the best examples known on basalt crags and in south-west Scotland generally. The flora is unusual in the association of contrasting geographical elements, such as the southern Atlantic liverwort Marchesinia mackaii together with northern and arctic-alpine species such as northern bedstraw Galium boreale, moss campion Silene acaulis and alpine lady’s-mantle Alchemilla alpina. Characteristic species include globe-flower Trollius europaeus, wild angelica Angelica sylvestris and lady’s-mantle Alchemilla glabra. Unusually, woodland species such as dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis and false brome Brachypodium sylvaticum occur, perhaps because of the low altitude of the cliffs.

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

  • 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.