Aghnadarragh ASSI

Protected area type: Areas of Special Scientific Interest
Feature type: 
  • Habitat
  • Species
  • Antrim
Council: Antrim and Newtownabbey
Guidance and literature: Aghnadarragh ASSI

This site is of importance in the context of the British Isles as its stratigraphic complexity and length of record is unique. It is the only site documenting climatic oscillations during the last (Midlandian) cold stage, while the range of date determinations provide a framework for Late Midlandian events in Ireland. Further, the palaeobotanical record is unique in Ireland and provides a yardstick for comparisons with critical sites in England, as well as highlighting both the arguments surrounding reworking of earlier biological detritus and the difficulty of non-sequence recognition.

The site provides the only profile of any length which contains evidence for large scale resolution of climatic cycles and ice sheet reconstruction from this sector of north-west Europe. A major result has been the recognition of ice sheet growth early in the last Cold Stage and extension of the growing idea of rapid environmental change within this period. Finally, the anticlinal structure in the lignite provides the only known evidence in Northern Ireland for bedrock deformation by intense glaciotectonic action.

Back to top