Creag Meagaidh

Site details

UK map showing location of Creag Meagaidh Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of Creag Meagaidh 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

4080 Sub-Arctic Salix spp. scrub
Creag Meagaidh is representative of W20 Salix lapponum – Luzula sylvatica Sub-Arctic Salix spp. scrub on less calcareous schist in the west-central Highlands at moderately high altitude (600–750 m). The site includes examples of scrub in an exceptionally wide range of different situations and associated vegetation types. Clumps of willows are widely scattered in corries on crags and rock ledges, along rocky or steep burn-sides, in boulder fields, in Carex – Juncus flushes, and in flushed ground in association with mountain saxifrage Saxifraga aizoides. Downy willow Salix lapponum is the most common species, while mountain willow S. arbuscula and dark-leaved willow S. myrsinifolia are also represented.
6150 Siliceous alpine and boreal grasslands
Creag Meagaidh has an extensive high plateau with schistose rocks similar to those on Drumochter Hills. The site contains a large area of Siliceous alpine and boreal grasslands with the full range of community types characteristic of the central Highlands. U10 Carex bigelowii – Racomitrium lanuginosum moss-heath is the dominant type on the high plateau, while the species-rich sub-type is also represented as small stands, mostly in association with solifluction terracing. There are large stands of U7 Nardus stricta – Carex bigelowii grass-heath and U8 Carex bigelowii – Polytrichum alpinum sedge-heath is extensive on the summit of Creag Meagaidh. U9 Juncus trifidus – Racomitrium lanuginosum rush-heath is developed locally on exposed ridges. Despite the similarity of rock type, the proportions of the communities present on Creag Meagaidh are different from those on Drumochter Hills. The dominance of Carex – Racomitrium moss-heath on Creag Meagaidh is probably due to a more oceanic climate, while the smaller extent of Nardus – Carex grass-heath and Carex – Polytrichum sedge-heath compared with Drumochter Hills is due to less prolonged snow cover on the high plateau. There are transitions to extensive late-lie moss-dominated snow-bed communities (U11 Polytrichum sexangulare – Kiaeria starkei snow-bed and U12 Salix herbacea – Racomitrium heterostichum snow-bed) and flushed U13 Deschampsia cespitosa – Galium saxatile grassland. U14 Alchemilla alpina – Sibbaldia procumbens dwarf-herb community is also represented.
6430 Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
Creag Meagaidh has examples of hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities representative of Moine schist rocks in the central Highlands. The habitat is moderately well-developed and largely confined to ungrazed cliff ledges but unusually occurs in at least one boulder field. The characteristic species of the community are well-represented, and include roseroot Sedum rosea, wild angelica Angelica sylvestris, lady’s mantle Alchemilla glabra, globeflower Trollius europaeus, great wood-rush Luzula sylvatica and water avens Geum rivale. Wet or moist ground supports scurvygrass Cochlearia officinalis, marsh-marigold Caltha palustris and common valerian Valeriana officinalis. Unusually there are tall herb ledges at low altitude with species such as wood vetch Vicia sylvatica and melancholy thistle Cirsium heterophyllum. The habitat grades into 4080 Sub-Arctic Salix spp. scrub, and downy willow Salix lapponum occurs among tall herbs on some ledges.

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
4010 Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix
4030 European dry heaths
4060 Alpine and Boreal heaths
7130 Blanket bogs (* if active bog)  * Priority feature
8110 Siliceous scree of the montane to snow levels (Androsacetalia alpinae and Galeopsietalia ladani)
8210 Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation
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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