Machair

Machair is not a plant, moreover a habitat. The word is gaelic for a geological formation – a fertile low-lying raised beach.

The machair is famous for the flower-rich meadows which are spectacular in the spring.

There are two kinds of machair; one is a fertile sand dune pasture which has been under agricultural cultivation and is found in wet and windy conditions; the other is the land between a beach and the area where sand has covered over the edge of a peat bog further inland.

 

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When to see

Best seen in spring and summer when the flowers are in bloom. This habitat supports rare low lying, so-called carpet flowers, such as Irish lady's tresses, orchids and yellow rattle. These in turn attract a range of bird species including the corncrake, dunlin, redshank, ringed plover and twite. Machairs have received considerable conservation attention because of their unique ecosystems which need careful management.

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Where to see

A machair will be found near to the seashore and are particularly renowned in the Outer Hebrides and along the north-west coast.

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Did you know?

Some machairs are threatened by coastal erosion caused by rising sea levels, which is a long term effect of global warming. Others are under pressure due to an increased human recreational activity on nearby beaches.

Binoculars Icon Blue
When to see

Best seen in spring and summer when the flowers are in bloom. This habitat supports rare low lying, so-called carpet flowers, such as Irish lady's tresses, orchids and yellow rattle. These in turn attract a range of bird species including the corncrake, dunlin, redshank, ringed plover and twite. Machairs have received considerable conservation attention because of their unique ecosystems which need careful management.

Map Icon Blue
Where to see

A machair will be found near to the seashore and are particularly renowned in the Outer Hebrides and along the north-west coast.

Book Icon Blue
Did you know?

Some machairs are threatened by coastal erosion caused by rising sea levels, which is a long term effect of global warming. Others are under pressure due to an increased human recreational activity on nearby beaches.

Binoculars Icon Blue
When to see

Best seen in spring and summer when the flowers are in bloom. This habitat supports rare low lying, so-called carpet flowers, such as Irish lady's tresses, orchids and yellow rattle. These in turn attract a range of bird species including the corncrake, dunlin, redshank, ringed plover and twite. Machairs have received considerable conservation attention because of their unique ecosystems which need careful management.

Map Icon Blue
Where to see

A machair will be found near to the seashore and are particularly renowned in the Outer Hebrides and along the north-west coast.

Book Icon Blue
Did you know?

Some machairs are threatened by coastal erosion caused by rising sea levels, which is a long term effect of global warming. Others are under pressure due to an increased human recreational activity on nearby beaches.