Rannoch Moor IPA

Location: Highland, Perth and Kinross and Argyll and Bute.

Grid Reference: NN 373 523

Rannoch Moor 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 raised and blanket bogs
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  • Rannoch Moor is an extensive, previously glaciated plateau surrounded by uplands. The vegetation that developed here represents the most extensive complex of western blanket and valley mire in Britain. The treacherous mires, boulder-strewn moorland, complete lack of shelter, and exposure to winds and rain make it an inhospitable environment, and Robert Louis Stevenson, in his novel 'Kidnapped' said of it “A wearier looking desert a man never saw”. Its many lochans, raised and blanket bogs, streams and rocky outcrops are, however, rich in vascular plant species

    The blanket bog that grew under the cool post-glacial conditions that have prevailed since the last Ice Age, sustained by high levels of rainfall, is home to plants such as ling, bog myrtle, arctic bearberry, great sundew, least water lily, a variety of grasses and sphagnum mosses. The site is particularly famous as the sole British location for the Rannoch-rush, named after the moor. Where shelter is greatest, a scatter of deciduous trees survives, remnants of what would once have been extensive native woodland. The stumps of many trees are preserved in the peat bogs on the moor. Large areas were planted with conifers in the early part of the 20th century. These woods have matured and now comprise monocultures of even-aged trees which hide much of the variety of the underlying landscape.