Ben Wyvis

Site details

UK map showing location of Ben Wyvis Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of Ben Wyvis 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

4060 Alpine and Boreal heaths
Ben Wyvis has extensive combinations of Alpine and Boreal heaths characteristic of both the eastern and northern Highlands. H13 Calluna vulgaris – Cladonia arbuscula heath and H19 Vaccinium myrtillus – Cladonia arbuscula heath are well-developed, with an abundance of lichens characteristic of the eastern Highlands. The abundance of lichens in these communities on this site is greater than on any other site in the northern and north-west Highlands, although the extent of the community is less than at Strathglass. The northern H17 Calluna – Arctostaphylos alpinus community is particularly finely developed on windswept lower summits and shoulders. Extensive H22 Vaccinium myrtillus – Rubus chamaemorus heaths dominated by heather are present on the higher slopes and have an unusual mix and abundance of northern species, including cloudberry Rubus chamaemorus, dwarf cornel Cornus suecica, mountain bearberry Arctostaphylos alpinus and dwarf birch Betula nana. On the highest slopes, where snow tends to accumulate, snow-bed H18 Vaccinium myrtillus – Deschampsia flexuosa heath is extensive. Transitions to 4030 European dry heath occur below, especially to H12 Calluna vulgaris – Vaccinium myrtillus heath, which is extensive on the lower slopes.
6150 Siliceous alpine and boreal grasslands
Ben Wyvis is representative of the species-poor form of U10 Carex bigelowii – Racomitrium lanuginosum moss-heath of the north and west of Scotland. Although Siliceous alpine and boreal grasslands are not as extensive on Ben Wyvis as on some other hills, the site has the largest continuous single tract of this sub-type in the UK, covering almost the whole of the summit plateau. The habitat type is developed on base-poor schist. There is also a large extent of the associated Rhytidiadelphus loreus moss-rich grassland on the edges of the Carex – Racomitrium moss-heath, where snow tends to drift. The site is little-disturbed and shows a particularly luxuriant moss-cover. U7 Nardus stricta – Carex bigelowii grass-heath is also well-represented and U8 Carex bigelowii – Polytrichum alpinum sedge-heath is present locally. Late-lie moss- and dwarf-herb-dominated snow-bed communities (U11 Polytrichum sexangulare – Kiaeria starkei snow-bed, U12 Salix herbacea – Racomitrium heterostichum snow-bed and U14 Alchemilla alpina – Sibbaldia procumbens dwarf-herb community) are represented on Ben Wyvis but are small in extent.
7130 Blanket bogs (* if active bog)  * Priority feature
Ben Wyvis lies between the high-altitude sites of the Grampian Mountains and the northern peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland, and supports species and features typical of both these areas. Blanket bog occurs across a wide altitudinal range but of particular note are the extensive areas of uneroded high-altitude bog supporting cloudberry Rubus chamaemorus, alpine bearberry Arctostaphylos alpinus and dwarf birch Betula nana.

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

3130 Oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters with vegetation of the Littorelletea uniflorae and/or of the Isoλto-Nanojuncetea
4030 European dry heaths
6430 Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
8110 Siliceous scree of the montane to snow levels (Androsacetalia alpinae and Galeopsietalia ladani)
8220 Siliceous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation

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.

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