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Special Areas of Conservation

Wyville Thomson Ridge

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country UK Offshore waters
Unitary Authority Extra-Regio
Centroid*
Latitude 59.9736
Longitude -6.715
SAC EU Code UK0030355
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 173995
* 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 Wyville Thomson Ridge SAC

General site character

  • Marine areas, Sea inlets (100%)

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

  • 1170 Reefs

    The Wyville Thomson Ridge is a rock ridge situated in the Atlantic Ocean at the northern end of the Rockall Trough. It is approximately 20km wide and 70km long and rises from over 1000m depth to less than 400m at the summit. The Ridge is composed of extensive areas of stony reef interspersed with gravel areas and bedrock reef along the flanks. The stony reef is thought to have been formed by the ploughing movement of icebergs through the seabed at the end of the last ice age. These iceberg ‘ploughmarks’ consist of ridges of boulders, cobbles and gravel where finer sediments have been winnowed away by high energy currents at the site, interspersed with finer sediment troughs up to 5m-10m deep (Masson et al., 2000). The rock and stony reef areas support diverse biological communities representative of hard substratum in deep water, including a range of sponges; stylasterid, cup and soft corals; brachiopods; cyclostome bryozoans; dense beds of featherstars and brittlestars; sea urchins, sea cucumbers and sea spiders (Masson et al., 2000; Henry & Roberts, 2004; Howell et al., 2007; and Brian Bett, pers. comm., 2004). Communities on the bedrock reef vary in species composition between the two sides of the ridge due to the influences of different water masses (Howell et al., 2007). This combination of water masses in one area is unique in UK waters.

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.