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Special Areas of Conservation

Ronas Hill - North Roe

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Highlands and Islands
Centroid* HU320852
Latitude 60.55
Longitude -1.416666667
SAC EU Code UK0019797
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 4903.57
* 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 Ronas Hill - North Roe SAC

General site character

  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (2.3%)
  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (4.2%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (28%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (51.1%)
  • Alpine and sub-Alpine grassland (6%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (8%)
  • Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (0.4%)

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

  • This site represents oligotrophic lochs and lochans (Types 2 and 3) on peatlands in Shetland. The waterbodies are concentrated on the northern side of Ronas Hill. The lochs support vegetation typical of oligotrophic habitat including water lobelia Lobelia dortmanna, quillwort Isoetes lacustris, bulbous rush Juncus bulbosus and shoreweed Littorella uniflora. Many of the lochs also support the scarce spring quillwort Isoetes echinospora. Several of the lochs contain small holms that support important relicts of Shetland’s tree and scrub habitat. In addition the site supports one of the densest aggregations of breeding red-throated divers Gavia stellata in the UK and important aquatic invertebrate populations including the arctic water-flea Eurycercus glacialis, which occurs in the highest lochan on Ronas Hill and has been found at only one other site in Britain.

  • Ronas Hill is representative of dystrophic pools and lochans formed in 7130 Blanket bogs in Shetland. The dystrophic pools and lochans typically have a peat substrate and support an impoverished plant flora. The site has considerable aquatic invertebrate interest. Notable species include the northern aquatic beetles Potamonectes griscostriatus and Agabus arcticus.

  • Ronas Hill – North Roe is representative of the extreme northerly development of Alpine and Boreal heaths in the UK. The cool and windy climate on Shetland results in the development of alpine heaths at exceptionally low altitude, giving one of the best examples of the altitudinal descent of vegetation zones in the UK. The site contains the most extensive areas on any site in Britain of H14 Calluna vulgarisRacomitrium lanuginosum heath, a type characteristic of the north-west and northern Scottish Highlands and Islands. This community is developed on some of the finest solifluction terracing found outside the Cairngorms. Mountain bearberry Arctostaphylos alpinus, bearberry A. uva-ursi and trailing azalea Loiseleuria procumbens are all present. There is also a large extent of an alpine form of H10 Calluna vulgarisErica cinerea heath with an unusual abundance of woolly fringe-moss Racomitrium lanuginosum and locally frequent bearberry. Other subalpine heaths present include H21 Calluna vulgarisVaccinium myrtillusSphagnum capillifolium heath and small areas of H20 Vaccinium myrtillusRacomitrium lanuginosum heath.

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

    North Roe represents a distinctive blanket bog type found only in the far north of Scotland, where there is a sub-arctic oceanic climate. The bog type is characterised by large peat mounds, and all stages of mound development can be seen at this site, ranging from early formation, to domes of several metres high, through to collapsed examples and finally crater-pool formations.

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.