Rosemarkie to Shandwick Coast IPA

Location: The coast of the Cromarty Firth to the north of Inverness. The area lies to the east of the A9 Inverness to Thurso road.

Grid Reference: NH 700 666

Rosemarkie to Shandwick Coast 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 Dry grasslands
  • The species richness of vascular plants in inland cliffs, rock pavements & outcrops
  • The species richness of vascular plants in base rich fens
  • The species richness of vascular plants in coastal dune and sand habitats
  • The species richness of vascular plants in rock cliffs, ledges and shores including supralittoral
  • The species richness of vascular plants in broadleaved deciduous woodland.
  • This area of the Moray Firth includes a variety of habitats which support a rich and diverse population of vascular plants.

    It has the only high coastal cliffs in the inner firth, whose ungrazed herb-rich grassland contains damp hollows particularly rich in plant species. Dune grassland occurs at a small number of locations and supports a range of plants not common this far north in the Highlands. There is also an area of coastal cliff woodland which, amongst a variety of trees, includes the nationally scarce rock whitebeam.

    The nationally scarce spring cinquefoil occurs in the damper spots on the cliffs, and shrubs are well represented here with ivy, honeysuckle, juniper, rose and blackthorn to be found. The dunes are home to a variety of plants including sea holly, viper’s bugloss and sea rocket, and a range of plants not common this far north in the Highlands such as carline thistle, wild liquorice, bloody crane’s-bill and yellow oat grass. The woodlands include birch, rowan and Scots pine together with the rock whitebeam.