Insh Marshes

Site details

UK map showing location of Insh Marshes Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of Insh Marshes 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

3130 Oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters with vegetation of the Littorelletea uniflorae and/or of the Isoto-Nanojuncetea
Insh Marshes is a major wetland site covering a representative section of the River Spey from Newtonmore to Kincraig. The flood-plain mire supports several waterbodies that are excellent representatives of oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters. The waterbodies range from the relatively large Loch Insh to small un-named lochans. Loch Insh is an excellent example of a mesotrophic, species-rich loch supporting populations of shoreweed Littorella uniflora, water lobelia Lobelia dortmanna and quillwort Isoetes lacustris and is noted for its exceptionally rapid water turnover, as the River Spey flows through the loch. The River Spey is one of the largest, least polluted and unmodified river systems in Britain and the waterbodies have a high degree of naturalness.
7140 Transition mires and quaking bogs
Insh Marshes in north-east Scotland is the largest transition mire in the UK. This site is representative of the flood plain mire type. The vegetation is a relatively uniform area of S27Carex rostrata Potentilla palustris tall-herb fen in which Sphagnum is found locally. String sedge Carex chordorrhiza is a rare sedge that occurs at this site and only one other, Scottish, site in the UK. It is more frequently found in this mire type in continental Europe.

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

91E0 Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)  * Priority feature

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

1355 Otter  Lutra lutra
The Insh Marshes are a component part of the River Spey. These extensive marshes together with their lochs, small lochans and ditches provide ideal feeding, resting and shelter areas for otter Lutra lutra and support a good population which is linked to that of the important River Spey population.

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.