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Special Areas of Conservation

River South Esk

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Scotland
Unitary Authority Eastern Scotland
Centroid* NO450567
Latitude 56.70277778
Longitude -2.916666667
SAC EU Code UK0030262
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 471.85
* 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 River South Esk SAC

General site character

  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins) (0.5%)
  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (75%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (1%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (1%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (2%)
  • Improved grassland (2%)
  • Other arable land (5%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (4.5%)
  • Coniferous woodland (3%)
  • Mixed woodland (5%)
  • Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (1%)

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

  • Not Applicable

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

  • 1029 Freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera

    Freshwater pearl mussels Margaritifera margaritifera are abundant in the River South Esk, representing the south-eastern range of the species in Scotland. The pearl mussel population is most abundant in the middle reaches of the river where they attain densities > 20 m2. The conservation importance of the site is further increased by the abundance of juveniles which comprise approximately 20% of the population. The presence of juvenile pearl mussels less than 20 mm long indicates that there has been successful recruitment since 1996.

  • 1106 Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

    The South Esk supports a large, high-quality salmon Salmo salar population in a river draining a moderate-sized catchment on the east coast of Scotland. It has a strong nutrient gradient along its length, rising in the nutrient-poor Grampians and flowing for half of its length through the rich agricultural lands of Strathmore. The high proportion of the South Esk which is accessible to salmon and the range of ecological conditions in the river allows it to support the full range of life-history types found in Scotland, with sub-populations of spring, summer salmon and grilse all being present.

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.