Binevenagh ASSI

Protected area type: Areas of Special Scientific Interest
Feature type: 
  • Earth Science
  • Londonderry
Council: Causeway Coast and Glens
Guidance and literature: Binevenagh ASSI

The area is of special scientific interest because of its geological and geomorphological features, its cliff vegetation, grasslands (in particular herb-rich calcicolous grassland), bryophyte-rich scree, rare plants, bryophytes and fungi. Binevenagh is an important outcrop of basalt, providing a fuller understanding of the development and age of the Antrim Lava Group as a whole. The well-defined flow units and pahoehoe surfaces are among the best examples seen anywhere within the basalt plateau. Mass movement during late- or post-glacial times has resulted in large slipped masses of basalt.

The cliffs at Binevenagh have a unique assemblage of arctic-alpine plants and bryophytes, including mountain avens, purple saxifrage and Tortula princeps, a vulnerable moss typical of slightly base-rich conditions on crumbly basalt. 

The grassland below the cliff is typically dominated by the fescue species and common bent with herbs such as heath bedstraw and tormentil. These grasslands are nationally important for fungi, particularly waxcaps (Hygrocybe). Both meadow and scarlet waxcaps regularly fruit in large numbers during late autumn. Dry, calcareous grassland also occurs with fine-leaved grasses, sedges and herbs dominating the sward. Wild thyme, eyebright and harebell are all frequent, with species such as field gentian and thyme broomrape more notable.

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