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Special Areas of Conservation

Cape Wrath

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Highlands and Islands
Centroid* NC320716
Latitude 58.60444444
Longitude -4.927222222
SAC EU Code UK0030108
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 1009.75
* 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 Cape Wrath SAC

General site character

  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (1%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (14%)
  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (1%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (15%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (62%)
  • Alpine and sub-Alpine grassland (7%)

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

  • Cape Wrath includes Clò Mór, the highest vertical sea cliffs in mainland Britain. Here and on some of the surrounding cliffs and cliff tops the vegetation is heavily bird-influenced, and locally dominated by common scurvygrass Cochlearia officinalis. There is a wide range of cliff habitats ranging from very exposed faces and crevices to comparatively sheltered gullies and even, at Cape Wrath itself, remarkable cliff-top sand dunes. Grasslands and heaths are well-represented, and the strip above the cliff edge has a good deal of sub-maritime short heather heath, rich in species including the montane dwarf willow Salix herbacea. The high exposure is sufficient to bring montane conditions close to sea level, and this is a classic site for the ‘altitudinal descent’ of upland species. On cliffs that are relatively sheltered from the north and north-west gales, there is strong development of a wood-rush Luzula-tall fern community leading down to roseroot Sedum rosea and wild angelica Angelica sylvestris ledges.

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.