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Special Areas of Conservation

Cadair Idris

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Wales
Unitary Authority West Wales and The Valleys
Centroid* SH704132
Latitude 52.7011
Longitude -3.9183
SAC EU Code UK0030104
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 3784.36
* 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 Cadair Idris SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (0.3%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (11%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (23%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (46%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (0.1%)
  • Improved grassland (1.3%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (3%)
  • Coniferous woodland (0.3%)
  • Mixed woodland (1.4%)
  • Inland rocks, Screes, Sands, Permanent Snow and ice (13%)
  • Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (0.6%)

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

  • Within the Cadair Idris range, Llyn Cau is a mountain lake representative of this type, located in an upland cirque. The lake’s conical basin, which reaches a water depth of almost 50 m, results from glacial scour of Ordovician volcanic and sedimentary rocks. Quillwort Isoetes lacustris is abundant and shoreweed Littorella uniflora occurs frequently. The boulder-dominated shore has abundant growths of liverworts and mosses, including Sphagnum denticulatum and Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus. There are distinct associations of I. lacustris, starwort Callitriche hamulata and bulbous rush Juncus bulbosus var. fluitans, the latter being most abundant adjacent to inflow streams. The water is moderately acid with low conductivity but relatively high nitrate concentrations for an upland lake. A lake sediment study did not reveal any evidence of acidification. It has been classified as a type 1 (dystrophic lake) on the basis of its vegetation but its water transparency is very high with a distinctive blue colour. It stratifies with a thermocline at 10-15 m depth. Brown trout Salmo trutta fario are present.

  • Cadair Idris is the most southerly site in the UK selected for high-altitude siliceous scree and as such is not as species-rich as more northerly examples. Much of the rock is dry and unstable, but on the extensive screes on steep slopes U21 Cryptogramma crispaDeschampsia flexuosa vegetation is well-distributed, and on the boulder screes, lemon-scented fern Oreopteris limbosperma can be found together with a range of characteristic bryophytes and lichens.

  • Cadair Idris is one of three Welsh sites representing Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation. It is the highest mountain in the south of the Snowdonia National Park and has a number of cliffs and rock outcrops with base-rich exposures, with the moist, north-facing cliffs supporting a number of notable bryophytes. Many of the higher plants are clustered below the tall-herb ledge vegetation where water streams down from above and include species such as green spleenwort Asplenium viride and purple saxifrage Saxifraga oppositifolia.

  • Cadair Idris is one of three Welsh sites representing Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation. Cliffs and rock outcrops are abundant on the site, with many supporting characteristic assemblages of lichen and bryophyte communities, particularly on the steep, moist, north-facing cliffs. Vascular plants include Wilson’s filmy-fern Hymenophyllum wilsonii, starry saxifrage Saxifraga stellaris and fir clubmoss Huperzia selago.

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.