Glen Coe and Mamores IPA

Location:This is a mountainous area comprising a former super volcano located to the south of Loch Leven and adjacent high ground stretching over the watershed into Glen Etive.

Grid Reference: NN 105 585

Glen Coe & Mamores IPA has been recognised as one of 165 Important Plant Areas in the UK.

The key features of this IPA are:

  • The species richness of vascular plants in inland cliffs, rock pavements and outcrops
  • Between the 6 mile-long notched ridge of Aonach Eagach and the truncated spurs of Bidean nam Bian, the highest mountain in Argyll, Glen Coe is an ice worn valley clad with screes and debris from the mountains. It is probably Scotland’s most famous and scenic Highland glen, boasting a rich and diverse range of habitats, from the lime rich slopes of Meall Mor, the birch woodland fragments that cling to the inaccessible crags and gullies safe from the hungry deer, heather moorland to internationally rare blanket bogs.

    Two main types of wet woodland are found also within this area: an alluvial alder woodland beside the lower reaches of the River Coe and relict slope ash-alder woodland on the northern slopes of Meall Mor. To the north, the Mamores is a compact group of forest-clad mountains linked by a long ridge that lies between Loch Leven and Glen Nevis.

    The traditional moorland grasses are dominant on the lower mountain slopes, with ling and heather on the hills up to around 2000 feet. Lower down there is an abundance of bog myrtle and cotton grass and, in the wetter places on the sides of pools, there is bog asphodel, common butterwort, sundew and bladderwort.

    On the high mountains, tucked away on ledges away from the all-devouring sheep, can be found a marvellous variety of typically alpine species. These include brittle bladder-fern, alpine lady-fern, roseroot, mountain sorrel, mountain avens, mossy saxifrage, purple saxifrage and alpine lady's-mantle, with Glen Coe itself being an important conservation area for alpine species. Fourteen nationally scarce and four Red Data Book species, including drooping saxifrage and Highland saxifrage, are recorded here.

    The ancient woodlands also provide a display of woodland flowers like bluebells, with the trees themselves putting on a wonderful show of colour in the autumn.