Tiree Machair

Site details

UK map showing location of Tiree Machair Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of Tiree Machair SAC/SCI/cSAC


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

2120 "Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria (""white dunes"")"
Mobile dune is scarce on Tiree except on west Tiree, the largest dune system in the Inner Hebrides. The dune front morphology and vegetation closely resemble Crossapol and Feall Bay on Coll Machair but blowouts are less frequent and there is a more rapid transition to semi-fixed dune. As at Coll Machair, the mobile sands contribute to the maintenance of dynamic hindshore 21A0 Machair.
2130 "Fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation (""grey dunes"")"  * Priority feature
The 21A0 Machair on Tiree features similar vegetation to Coll, but the sand is more stable, and rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus are absent. Calcareous fixed dunes are extensive, with a wide range of these represented, including large areas of lightly grazed fixed dune, relatively uncommon in northern Scotland.
21A0 Machairs (* in Ireland)
Tiree is considered to have the most extensive and diverse area of machair outside the Outer Hebrides. 24% of the total area of the island is machair. The machair complex on Tiree is uncultivated and has a long history of seasonal grazing. There is a diverse series of physical machair formations. The Tiree complex is also noteworthy as one of the few examples of rabbit-free machair in Scotland. An Fhaodhail and the Reef is an extensive area of wet machair grading into an extensive marsh and wetland (An Fhaodhail), and is the only site in the Inner Hebrides that is influenced by saline water, although this has recently been restricted by the insertion of a tidal flood-gate. The site is unusual in that it is grazed only by cattle, a traditional management practice that has maintained an extremely rich and varied flora. In contrast, Hough Bay Balevullin is a complex of dry machair and hummocky dunes forming an intricate mosaic with wet machair and dune slack vegetation.
3150 Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation
The Tiree Machair comprises some of the finest examples of calcareous sand dunes grading into machair plain and machair loch (Loch Bhasapol). The Tiree Machair cSAC comprises four discrete areas located in the central and north western areas of the island of Tiree. Loch Bhasapol and other lochs on the machair plain represent high quality naturally eutrophic waterbodies that reflect a strong maritime influence. The eutrophic condition of the waterbodies is derived from the sand deposits and dunes that are prevalent throughout the site. The lochs support a diverse aquatic plant flora with several species indicative of the maritime influence, including brackish water-crowfoot Ranunculus baudotii that has a restricted UK and European distribution. The site also supports eight species of pondweed, including the nationally scarce fen pondweed Potamogeton coloratus, and slender-leaved pondweed P. filiformis, together with the locally rare fennel pondweed P. pectinatus.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

2110 Embryonic shifting dunes
2190 Humid dune slacks

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.