Onich to North Ballachulish Woods

Site details

UK map showing location of Onich to North Ballachulish Woods Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of Onich to North Ballachulish Woods 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

91A0 Old sessile oak woods with Ilex and Blechnum in the British Isles
Onich to North Ballachulish Woods extends from sea level to over 400 metres above sea level and incorporates woodland on north-, south- and west-facing slopes on a variety of different rock types. The site’s varying physical features have resulted in the development of a diverse mixture of vegetation types. Old sessile oak woods are best-developed on the lower parts of the south-facing slopes. The woods are very variable in species composition, with four oak–birchQuercus–Betula NVC woodland types represented. The woods comprise a mix of downy birch Betula pubescens, rowan Sorbus aucuparia, sessile oak Quercus petraea, hazel Corylus avellana, holly Ilex aquifolium and ash Fraxinus excelsior in differing proportions. The ground flora is equally variable, ranging from predominantly grassy, with sweet vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum and wavy hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa particularly abundant, to heathy, dominated by heather Calluna vulgaris and bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus, or mossy, with species such as Dicranum majus, Rhytidiadelphus loreus and Hylocomium splendens forming deep mats. The woods also support a well-developed epiphytic Lobarion lichen flora and a rich assemblage of bryophytes, including a particularly good representation of both oceanic and calcicolous species. Some of the bryophytes, such as Bazzania trilobata, Plagiochila killarniensis and Ptilium crista-castrensis are nationally uncommon. Natural regeneration and expansion of the habitat is occurring around the wood’s current margins. There are transitions to the Annex I habitat H9180 Tilio-acerion forests on slopes, screes and ravines, and also from woodland to heath and mire habitats. The mammalian fauna includes pine marten Martes martes, red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris and badger Meles meles.

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

7230 Alkaline fens
9180 Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes and ravines  * Priority feature

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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