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Special Areas of Conservation

North Antrim Coast

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Northern Ireland
Unitary Authority Northern Ireland
Centroid* D022440
Latitude 55.2325
Longitude -6.3933
SAC EU Code UK0030224
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 311.44
* 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 North Antrim Coast SAC

General site character

  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes (2%)
  • Coastal sand dunes, Sand beaches, Machair (10%)
  • Shingle, Sea cliffs, Islets (21%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (15%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (4%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (48%)

Download the Standard Data Form for this site (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

  • The North Antrim Coast represents an extensive area of hard cliff along one of the most exposed coastlines in Northern Ireland. The site exhibits contrasting geology. The western part is centred on the Giant’s Causeway with its geochemically alkali and intermediate basaltic high cliff, interspersed with a series of coves. The eastern section hosts the limited active and extensive fossil chalk sea-cliffs. The basalt series supports a range of communities including those associated with rock crevices and cliff ledges, and with a range of typical maritime grasslands and heath. Notable species for the site include Wilson’s filmy-fern Hymenophyllum wilsonii, thyme broomrape Orobanche alba, hare’s-foot clover Trifolium arvense, zigzag clover Trifolium medium and common juniper Juniperus communis. The chalk cliffs support mesotrophic and calcareous grasslands.

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • 1014 Narrow-mouthed whorl snail Vertigo angustior

    The North Antrim Coast supports the only known living population of narrow-mouthed whorl snail Vertigo angustior in Northern Ireland. The species was rediscovered in 2002 at two separate localities on the site. Both support strong populations of the species in areas of ideal habitat – i.e. tall, lightly-grazed, damp grassland – and it is likely that they have persisted for many decades.

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

  • Not Applicable

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