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Special Areas of Conservation

East Caithness Cliffs

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Highlands and Islands
Centroid* ND215331
Latitude 58.28027778
Longitude -3.339166667
SAC EU Code UK0030143
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 457.48
* 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 East Caithness Cliffs SAC

General site character

  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (70%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (15%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (15%)

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

  • This stretch of northern Scottish coast provides a range of habitats, though lacking the extreme exposure of the some of the island sites and Cape Wrath. Roseroot Sedum rosea and Scots lovage Ligusticum scoticum grow without any associates in the north of the site, and there are tall herb gullies in more sheltered positions often dominated by meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria. There are two very small patches of perched saltmarsh with saltmarsh rush Juncus gerardii, and locally there is also bird-influenced vegetation. Grasslands with many tall herbs are plentiful in ungrazed areas and short herb-rich grasslands and heath occur on the cliff tops. Around Berriedale, the vegetation lacks some of the more maritime components such as thrift Armeria maritima and sea plantain Plantago maritima, and becomes progressively less maritime southwards, with no maritime heath on the cliff top; because of the reduced maritime influence the gullies have developed scrub including willow Salix spp., juniper Juniperus communis, hazel Corylus avellana, hawthorn Crataegus monogyna and aspen Populus tremula.

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

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