Cladagh (Swanlinbar River) ASSI

Protected area type: Areas of Special Scientific Interest
Feature type: 
  • Habitat
  • Species
  • Fermanagh
Council: Fermanagh and Omagh
Guidance and literature: Cladagh (Swanlinbar) River ASSI

The Cladagh (Swanlinbar) River rises high on Cuilcagh Mountain, flowing steeply downslope before widening as it enters Upper Lough Erne.The upper half is typical of fast-flowing rivers that are oligo-mesotrophic. It supports a number of aquatic plants, consisting mainly of mosses such as Fontinalis antipyretica and liverworts such as Marchantia polymorpha. The main vascular plant in these upper reaches is the stream water-crowfoot, which occurs where the river is more smooth-flowing. Trees line the lower half of the river where it is slow-flowing, deep and eutrophic and the plants are typical of waters rich in nutrients. Vascular plants are dominant and include stands of broad-leaved pondweed and yellow water-lily. 

The upper Cladagh (Swanlinbar) River is of particular importance for the freshwater pearl mussel. It is one of the few rivers in Northern Ireland that still retains a significant and viable population of this rare shellfish. In addition, the Atlantic stream crayfish is also found. Otters and kingfishers are also present along the length of the river.

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