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Special Areas of Conservation

Barry Links

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Eastern Scotland
Centroid* NO538321
Latitude 56.4792
Longitude -2.75
SAC EU Code UK0013044
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 770.44
* 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 Barry Links SAC

General site character

  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes (1%)
  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (87.3%)
  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (0.2%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (2.7%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (1.3%)
  • Coniferous woodland (2.5%)
  • Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (5%)

Download the Natura 2000 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

  • At Barry Links (one of three representative sites on the east coast of Scotland), there is an identifiable zone of Embryonic shifting dunes with lyme-grass Leymus arenarius, most frequently found on accreting sand spits. Of additional interest is the regular occurrence of an identifiable zone of sand couch Elytrigia juncea foredune, which may extend in summer as a narrow band in front of the main foredune ridge. There are well-developed gradations to 2120 Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria (“white dunes”).

  • Shifting dunes along the shoreline are found as an identifiable band along the coastal edge of Barry Links on the east coast of Scotland. The site is mostly undisturbed and there are active coastal processes along the undefended seaward edge resulting in areas of dune accretion, particularly along the southern edge of the site. Where dunes are accreting, they are dominated by marram Ammophila arenaria, and there are well-developed transitions to dune grassland and heath.

  • Barry Links is one of the largest dune systems in eastern Scotland. The site is known for its very fine parabolic dunes but these and the system as a whole are now quite stable. Most of the area is occupied by acid fixed dune grassland, though there is heather Calluna heath locally, some of it rich in Cladonia lichens. Such extensive areas of comparatively unmodified fixed dune are now rare in eastern Scotland.

  • Barry Links is a large site on the east coast of Scotland and has a relatively extensive area of Atlantic decalcified fixed dunes (Calluno-Ulicetea). The dunes are part of a full successional transition from embryonic foredune to heath on fixed dune. There is a complex of dune grassland on Atlantic decalcified fixed dunes. The pattern of development of Calluna heath suggests that decalcification has occurred through leaching of the sand over an extended period of time. This is in contrast to most other sites with extensive dune heath. Usually these sites are composed of sand with an extremely low initial calcium carbonate content, and decalcification is a relatively rapid process. In addition there are transitions to wet heath, which in turn grades into dune slack.

  • Barry Links is a virtually intact dune system, composed predominantly of base-poor sand on the east coast of Scotland. The slacks range from species-rich, open types to those with a closed canopy of scrub. The hydrology of the site is well-conserved and successional processes can be seen operating. The site has some morphological similarities to Braunton Burrows, though the range of communities is different owing to the different soil base-status and climate. The Humid dune slacks occur in a complex mosaic with other sand dune habitats, several of which have been proposed as Annex I habitat types in their own right.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

  • Not Applicable

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.