Database release:

For Special Protection Areas (SPA),
Proposed Sites for Community Importance (pSCI),
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and
for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)



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1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name

Sheephaven SAC

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

1.7 Site indication and designation / classification dates

Date site proposed as SCI:1999-06
Date site confirmed as SCI: No information provided
Date site designated as SAC:2019-11
National legal reference of SAC designation:605/2019


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km] (optional):

No information provided

2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name
IE01Border, Midland and Western

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Atlantic (0.00 %)


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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

Annex I Habitat types Site assessment
Code PF NP Cover [ha] Cave [number] Data quality A|B|C|D A|B|C
      RepresentativityRelative SurfaceConservationGlobal
1140  info      712.26  0.00 
1210  info      0.088  0.00 
1230  info      2.32  0.00 
1310  info      21.5  0.00 
1330  info      49.0506  0.00 
1410  info      17.2507  0.00 
2110  info      3.056  0.00 
2120  info      5.4639  0.00 
2130  info      257.887  0.00 
2190  info      3.191  0.00 
21A0  info  X     55.26  0.00 
91A0  info      4.0894  0.00 
  • PF: for the habitat types that can have a non-priority as well as a priority form (6210, 7130, 9430) enter "X" in the column PF to indicate the priority form.
  • NP: in case that a habitat type no longer exists in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Cover: decimal values can be entered
  • Caves: for habitat types 8310, 8330 (caves) enter the number of caves if estimated surface is not available.
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation)

3.2 Species referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site evaluation for them

Species Population in the site Site assessment
G Code Scientific Name S NP T Size Unit Cat. D.qual. A|B|C|D A|B|C
      MinMax  Pop.Con.Iso.Glo.
BA052Anas crecca    129  129   
BA050Anas penelope    414  414   
BA053Anas platyrhynchos    117  117   
BA046Branta bernicla    135  135   
BA045Branta leucopsis    300  300   
BA149Calidris alpina    107  107   
BA137Charadrius hiaticula    48  48   
I1065Euphydryas aurinia          DD 
BA130Haematopus ostralegus    155  155   
BA160Numenius arquata    86  86   
P1395Petalophyllum ralfsii    1123  1123  area   
BA346Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax     
BA048Tadorna tadorna    75  75   
BA164Tringa nebularia     
BA142Vanellus vanellus    25  25   
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Type: p = permanent, r = reproducing, c = concentration, w = wintering (for plant and non-migratory species use permanent)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the Standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting (see reference portal)
  • Abundance categories (Cat.): C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present - to fill if data are deficient (DD) or in addition to population size information
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation); VP = 'Very poor' (use this category only, if not even a rough estimation of the population size can be made, in this case the fields for population size can remain empty, but the field "Abundance categories" has to be filled in)

3.3 Other important species of flora and fauna (optional)


Population in the site


Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
Diogenes pugilator                   
Lepus timidus hibernicus                     
Lepus timidus hibernicus                     
Lepus timidus hibernicus                     
Meles meles                     
Meles meles                     
Rana temporaria                     
Rana temporaria                     
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, Fu = Fungi, I = Invertebrates, L = Lichens, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • CODE: for Birds, Annex IV and V species the code as provided in the reference portal should be used in addition to the scientific name
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting, (see reference portal)
  • Cat.: Abundance categories: C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present
  • Motivation categories: IV, V: Annex Species (Habitats Directive), A: National Red List data; B: Endemics; C: International Conventions; D: other reasons


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

This extensive coastal site is dominated by intertidal mud and sand flats and sand dune areas, with smaller areas of salt marsh, lake, dry heath, scrub and woodland present. It is located to the north-east of Creeslough village, along the northern coast of Co. Donegal. The bedrock geology of the site is quite varied with schist (at least 2 types), quartzite and metadolerite present. Areas of outcropping rock, however, are relatively rare. The main landuse within the site, and in surrounding areas, is sheep and cattle grazing. Large areas of fixed dune south of Rosepenna have recently been developed as golf courses.

4.2 Quality and importance

This site is of importance for the extensive area of fixed dune habitat, the overall quality of which is good. The occurrence of a small area of machair of medium quality is also of note. Good examples of mobile marram dunes, annual vegetation of drift lines, embryonic shifting dunes and both Mediterranean and Atlantic salt meadows also occur. Sea cliffs occur at Clonmass, and at Breaghy, Clonmass Isle and Ards. In total, almost 3km of cliff occurs within the site. Extensive intertidal mud and sand flats occur and the site is the most northerly in Ireland for the rare hermit crab Diogenes pugilator. An area of old oak woodland, while small and only of moderate quality, is of note because of the scarcity of this habitat in Donegal. The site supports a population of Petalophyllum ralfsii as well as some locally scarce plants, such as Arctostaphylos uva-ursi and Orobanche rubra. The Annex I Bird Directive species Branta leucopsis utilises the site, as well as moderate numbers of a range of other waterfowl species.

4.3 Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site

The most important impacts and activities with high effect on the site

Negative Impacts
RankThreats and pressures [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]

Rank: H = high, M = medium, L = low
Pollution: N = Nitrogen input, P = Phosphor/Phosphate input, A = Acid input/acidification,
T = toxic inorganic chemicals, O = toxic organic chemicals, X = Mixed pollutions
i = inside, o = outside, b = both

4.4 Ownership (optional)

No information provided

4.5 Documentation (optional)

Bassett, J.A. (1983). Report on the Conservation of Irish Coastal Sites - Machair in Ireland. Unpublished report to the Department of Fisheries and Forestry, Dublin. Bassett, J.A. and Curtis T.G.F. (1985). The nature and occurrence of sand-dune machair in Ireland. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 85B: 1-20. Curtis, T.G.F. (1991a). A site inventory of the sandy coasts of Ireland. In Quigley, M.B. (ed.). A Guide to the Sand Dunes of Ireland. E.U.C.C., Dublin. Curtis, T.G.F. and Sheehy Skeffington, M.J. (1998). The salt marshes of Ireland: an inventory and account of their geographical variation. Biology and the Environment, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 98B: 87-104. Hart, H.C. (1898). Flora of County Donegal. Dublin. Madden, B., Cooney, T., ODonoghue, A., Norriss, D.W. and Merne, O.J. (1998). Breeding waders of machair systems in Ireland in 1996. Irish Birds 6: 177-190. McConnell, B.J. and Long, C.B. (1997). Geology of North Donegal. A Geological Description to Accompany the Bedrock Geology 1: 10,000 Scale Map Series, Sheet 1 and part of Sheet 2, North Donegal. Geological Survey of Ireland, Dublin. McGrath, D., Costello, M.J. and Emblow, C. (2000). The hermit crab Diogenes pugilator (Roux, 1829) in Irish waters. Biology and Environment, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 100B: 115-118. Neff, M.J. (1973). Conservation Report, Ards Forest. Unpublished report, Forest and Wildlife Service Dublin. Picton, B.E. and Costello, M.J. (eds). (1997). BioMar Biotope Viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland (Ver. 2.0). Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin. (Compact Disc). Sheppard, R. (1993). Irelands Wetland Wealth. IWC, Dublin. Whilde, A. (1985). The All Ireland Tern Survey 1984. Unpublished report for the Irish Wildbird Conservancy, Dublin. Young, R. (1973). Report on Areas of Ecological and Geological Interest in County Donegal. An Foras Forbartha, Dublin.


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5.1 Designation types at national and regional level (optional):

Code Cover [%]

5.2 Relation of the described site with other sites (optional):

Designated at national or regional level:

Type code Site name Type Cover [%]
IE01Duntally Wood Nature Reserve+1.00
IE01Ards Wildfowl Sanctuary*25.00

5.3 Site designation (optional)

No information provided


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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:

No information provided

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation

6.3 Conservation measures (optional)

No information provided



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