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Special Areas of Conservation

Loch of Wester

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Highlands and Islands
Centroid* ND322596
Latitude 58.51944444
Longitude -3.163888889
SAC EU Code UK0030194
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 68.79
* 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 Loch of Wester SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (70%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (30%)

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

  • Loch of Wester is a high-quality naturally eutrophic loch which drains a large peatland catchment in Caithness, flowing into the North Sea through Keiss Links. It developed after the sand-bar at its outflow formed an impoundment, indicating its recent geological origin. The eutrophic conditions in the loch are derived from the Old Red Sandstone which is found throughout its catchment. The loch lies in the northern north-east Scottish Highlands where low-intensity land-use has protected it from any serious modifications. The plant species assemblage in the loch indicates that it lies towards the lower end of the nutrient-rich category, adding diversity to the suite of sites selected as Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition-type vegetation. The pondweeds include the nationally scarce slender-leaved pondweed Potamogeton filiformis, as well as various-leaved pondweed P. gramineus, fennel pondweed P. pectinatus, perfoliate pondweed P. perfoliatus and lesser pondweed P. pusillus.

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.