Isle of Cumbrae IPA

Location: Lies in the lower Firth of Clyde. It can be reached by a 10 minute ferry crossing from Largs in Ayrshire.

Grid Reference: NS 168 564

Isle of Cumbrae 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 marine algae in Littoral and sublittoral rock and other hard substrata.
  • The larger of the two islands known as The Cumbraes in the lower Firth of Clyde in western Scotland, the isle is only 3.9 kilometres (2.4 mi) long by 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide and rises to a height of 127 metres (417 ft) above sea level.

    It provides a variety of habitats, but particularly important are the rock platforms and cliffs which form the majority of its coastline, the quiet waters of which make a fine home for marine algae.

    Wild flowers and ferns abound, but the island is a particular haven for marsh and moorland species including marsh violet and marsh marigolds early in the year and branched bur-reed, round-leaved sundew, cross-leaved heath and bell heather later.

    At least 9 species of orchids can be found including common and heath spotted orchids, early and northern marsh orchids, greater and lesser butterfly orchids and frog orchid. The cliffs and rock ledges are home to sea campion, thrift, navelwort, sea milkwort, sea buckthorn and Scots lovage.