SPA description
(information as published 2001)

West Westray

image: SPA location map 


The SPA is located on the west coast of the island of Westray, one of the most northerly of the Orkney islands in northern Scotland. The site comprises an 8 km length of Old Red Sandstone cliffs, together with adjoining areas of species-rich maritime grassland and heath. The area is rich in cliff-top plants including the nationally scarce Scottish Primrose Primula scotica, Sea Plantain Plantago maritima, and Spring Squill Scilla verna. The cliffs support large colonies of breeding auks and Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, whilst the grassland and heathland areas support breeding colonies of skuas and terns. The seabirds feed in the surrounding waters outside the SPA. 


Qualifying species

For individual species accounts visit the Species Accounts section

This site qualifies under Article 4.1 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following species listed on Annex I of the Directive:
During the breeding season;
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea, 1,200 pairs representing at least 2.7% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count, as at 1997)
This site also qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following migratory species:
During the breeding season;
Guillemot Uria aalge, 28,274 pairs representing at least 1.3% of the breeding East Atlantic population (Count as at 1988)
Assemblage qualification: A seabird assemblage of international importance
The area qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by regularly supporting at least 20,000 seabirds
During the breeding season, the area regularly supports 120,000 individual seabirds including: Razorbill Alca torda, Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus, Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis, Guillemot Uria aalge, Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea.



Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.
Note that sites selected for waterbird species on the basis of their occurrence in the breeding, passage or winter periods also provide legal protection for these species when they occur at other times of the year.