Fannich Hills

Site details

UK map showing location of Fannich Hills Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance.
Location of Fannich Hills 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

4010 Northern Atlantic wet heaths with Erica tetralix
In common with other selected sites in the north west Highland region, the wet heaths at Fannich Hills have some notable floristic features, for example the presence of suites of Atlantic bryophytes including Pleurozia purpurea, Campylopus atrovirens and Breutelia chrysocoma. There is a large area of oceanic, rocky wet heath on shallow peat, with much woolly fringe-moss Racomitrium lanuginosum, Cladonia lichens and bell heather Erica cinerea. Some parts are boreal in character, supporting abundant lichens. An especially unusual feature of these heaths is the presence of dwarf birch Betula nana. The range of habitat sub-types present is similar to those found on other nearby sites, but they are more extensively developed at Fannich Hills.
4060 Alpine and Boreal heaths
There is a wide range of Alpine and boreal heaths present at Fannich Hills, including NVC types H13 Calluna vulgaris–Cladonia arbuscula heath, H14 Calluna vulgaris–Racomitrium lanuginosum heath, H17 Calluna vulgaris–Arctostaphylos alpinus heath and H20 Vaccinium myrtillus–Racomitrium lanuginosum heath. The main heath is the oceanic Calluna–Racomitrium community (H14) which occurs extensively on exposed ridges. The range of sub-types present is typical of other sites selected to represent the Alpine and boreal heaths habitat in the region. Features of particular interest on Fannich Hills include the development of H17 heath rich in dwarf shrubs, Atlantic liverwort-rich Vaccinium–Racomitrium heath (H20c) and the presence of fine solifluction terracing.
6150 Siliceous alpine and boreal grasslands
Siliceous alpine and boreal grasslands are represented at Fannich Hills by NVC types U7 Nardus stricta–Carex bigelowii grass-heath, U10 Carex bigelowii–Racomitrium lanuginosum moss-heath, U11 Polytrichum norvegicum–Kiaeria starkei snow-bed, U12 Salix herbacea–Racomitrium heterostichum snow-bed and U14 Alchemilla alpina–Sibbaldia procumbens dwarf-herb community. These types are representative of the higher hills of the western Highlands, and well represent differing conditions of snow-lie. The range of types is similar to other sites in the region but Fannich Hills supports more extensive tracts of the oceanic U10 Carex–Racomitrium moss-heath which covers much of the high plateaux and summits. The species-poor typical sub-community (U10b) with carpets of woolly fringe-moss Racomitrium lanuginosum covering the ground is well-developed. Most significant is the species-rich sub-type of Carex–Racomitrium moss-heath belonging to the Silene acaulis sub-community (U10c), which is exceptionally extensive at Fannich Hills.

The flora of the Siliceous alpine and boreal grasslands is rich and includes many montane species and national rarities such as alpine lady’s-mantle Alchemilla alpina, three-leaved rush Juncus trifidus, dwarf willow Salix herbacea, mountain everlasting Antennaria dioica, spiked wood-rush Luzula spicata, dwarf cudweed Gnaphalium supinum, alpine bistort Persicaria vivipara, moss campion Silene acaulis, cyphel Minuartia sedoides, sibbaldia Sibbaldia procumbens, trailing azalea Loiseleuria procumbens and alpine bearberry Arctostaphylos alpina. The rare mosses Aulacomnium turgidum, Polytrichum sexangulare and Dicranum starkei are also represented. Montane lichens include a number of characteristic species: Solorina crocea, Thamnolia vermicularis, Cetraria islandica and Ochrolechia frigida.

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 Isoëto-Nanojuncetea
4030 European dry heaths
7130 Blanket bogs (* if active bog)  * Priority feature
8110 Siliceous scree of the montane to snow levels (Androsacetalia alpinae and Galeopsietalia ladani)
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.

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.