North Antrim Coast

Site details

UK map showing location of North Antrim Coast Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of North Antrim Coast 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

1230 Vegetated sea cliffs of the Atlantic and Baltic Coasts
The North Antrim Coast represents an extensive area of hard cliff along one of the most exposed coastlines in Northern Ireland. The site exhibits contrasting geology. The western part is centred on the Giant’s Causeway with its geochemically alkali and intermediate basaltic high cliff, interspersed with a series of coves. The eastern section hosts the limited active and extensive fossil chalk sea-cliffs. The basalt series supports a range of communities including those associated with rock crevices and cliff ledges, and with a range of typical maritime grasslands and heath. Notable species for the site include Wilson’s filmy-fern Hymenophyllum wilsonii, thyme broomrape Orobanche alba, hare’s-foot clover Trifolium arvense, zigzag clover Trifolium medium and common juniper Juniperus communis. The chalk cliffs support mesotrophic and calcareous grasslands.

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

1210 Annual vegetation of drift lines
1330 Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae)
2120 "Shifting dunes along the shoreline with Ammophila arenaria (""white dunes"")"
2130 "Fixed coastal dunes with herbaceous vegetation (""grey dunes"")"  * Priority feature
6230 Species-rich Nardus grasslands, on silicious substrates in mountain areas (and submountain areas in Continental Europe)  * Priority feature

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

1014 Narrow-mouthed whorl snail  Vertigo angustior
The North Antrim Coast supports the only known living population of narrow-mouthed whorl snail Vertigo angustior in Northern Ireland. The species was rediscovered in 2002 at two separate localities on the site. Both support strong populations of the species in areas of ideal habitat – i.e. tall, lightly-grazed, damp grassland – and it is likely that they have persisted for many decades.

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

Not applicable.

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