Ballynahone Bog ASSI

Protected area type: Areas of Special Scientific Interest
Feature type: 
  • Habitat
  • Londonderry
Council: Mid-Ulster
Guidance and literature: Ballynahone Bog ASSI

The area is of special scientific interest because of its physiographical features and peatland flora and fauna. The peat sequence holds information on the history of local vegetation and climate and also international vulcanism for much of the Holocene (post 10,000 years before present) in the form of sediments, pollen, and volcanic glass shards (tephra).

Biological interest relates primarily to the size of the site, in addition to the diversity of the vegetation and structural features, and the presence of rare and notable species. 

The peatland flora includes a number of rare species, including bog-rosemary, one of only four known sites in Northern Ireland, and four Sphagnum mosses;Sphagnum fuscum, Sphagnum imbricatum and Sphagnum molle, which form hummocks on the intact surface, and the nationally rare Sphagnum pulchrum which grows as a prominent pool edge species.

The bog also provides an important habitat for breeding birds such as curlew and snipe and wintering species including birds of prey such as hen harrier and merlin.

The invertebrate fauna is largely characteristic of lowland raised bogs throughout Northern Ireland, with a predominance of acidophile, or acid-tolerant species. This includes the rove beetle lathrobium punctatum, the corixid bug hesperocorixa castanea, the dragonflies black darter and common hawker, and the water beetles hydroporus incognitus, hydroporus gyllenhali,Ilybius aenescens, Ilybius guttiger, graptodytes granularis andenochrus fuscipennis. The saldid bug chartoscirta elegantula has recently been recorded from the site; this is only the third record for this species in Ireland. 

A further notable feature is the presence of the largest known colonies in Northern Ireland of the large heath butterfly.

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