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07 Stravanan Bay (23.8.17)

Posted 23/8/2017



Lying on the route of the West Island Way, the beach at Stravanan is among the most highly regarded on the island.  For this walk, I suggest you leave the car at the Standing Stones car park on the Plan Road and pick up the WIW a few hundred yards to the south.  Then follow its route to the coast, across the golf course, along the sand dunes and return via the track up to Langalbuinoch Farm and the road.  If you travel by bus, you can start this round at the Kingarth Hotel.

Botanically, the coastal strip (from NS081557 to NS078563) is by far the most interesting;  it includes grassland, marshy ground, rocky shore, shingle, sandy beach and dunes.  The species listed at the foot of this page can all be found on this stretch.

The golf fairway at this time of year is host to, among other flowers, the blue Devil’s-bit Scabious and the purple Heather (Ling), while off the course and nearer the sea you will find the white petals of Sea Mayweed and the yellow of Perennial Sow-thistle in profusion.  On one of the sandstone rocks here I found this particularly striking example of Buck’s-horn Plantain.


The rather drab-looking grey-green plants with spikes of inconspicuous flowers are Atriplex species, the most common ones being Babington’s Orache and Spear-leaved Orache.   Found along much of the shoreline, they are difficult to differentiate and I am happy to leave that to the experts!

On reaching the sandy beach and dunes, the vegetation changes quite dramatically, becoming dominated by Marram-grass and Lyme Grass.  But this stretch also contains two of the island’s less common species:  Sea-holly, found only here, and Common Stork’s-bill, a low-growing plant on the grazed area behind the dunes.







  Species include:

Amphibious Bistort Persicaria amphibia
Bracken Pteridium aquilinum
Bramble Rubus fruticosus agg.
Broad-leaved Dock Rumex obtusifolius
Buck's-horn Plantain Plantago coronopus
Burnet Rose Rosa spinosissima
Cat's-ear Hypochaeris radicata
Cleavers Galium aparine
Common Bird's-foot-trefoil Lotus corniculatus
Common Chickweed Stellaria media
Common Eyebright Euphrasia nemorosa
Common Mouse-ear Cerastium fontanum
Common Nettle Urtica dioica
Common Sorrel Rumex acetosa
Common Stork's-bill Erodium cicutarium
Creeping Buttercup Ranunculus repens
Creeping Thistle Cirsium arvense
Cross-leaved Heath Erica tetralix
Curled Dock Rumex crispus
Daisy Bellis perennis
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale agg.
Devil's-bit Scabious Succisa pratensis
False Fox-sedge Carex otrubae
Gorse Ulex europaeus
Heather Calluna vulgaris
Hemlock Water-dropwort Oenanthe crocata
Japanese Rose Rosa rugusa
Knapweed Centaurea nigra
Knotted Pearlwort Sagina nodosa
Lesser Burdock Arctium minus agg.
Lyme Grass Leymus arenarius
Marram Ammophila arenaria
Marsh Pennywort Hydrocotyle vulgaris
Marsh Thistle Cirsium palustre
Marsh Woundwort Stachys palustris
Meadow Buttercup Ranunculus acris
Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis
Mouse-ear-hawkweed Pilosella officinarum
Orache spp Atriplex spp
Parsley Water-dropwort Oenanthe lachenalii
Perennial Sow-thistle Sonchus arvensis
Ragged-robin Silene flos-cuculi
Ragwort Senecio jacobaea
Red Campion Silene dioica
Red Clover Trifolium pratense
Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata
Scurvygrass Cochlearia officinalis
Sea Aster Aster tripolium
Sea Mayweed Tripleurospermum maritimum
Sea Milkwort Glaux maritima
Sea Plantain Plantago maritima
Sea Radish Raphanus raphanistrum 
Sea Rocket Cakile maritima
Sea Sandwort Honkenya peploides
Sea-holly Eryngium maritimum
Selfheal Prunella vulgaris
Silverweed Potentilla anserina
Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare
Thrift Armeria maritima
Tormentil Potentilla erecta
Water Mint Mentha aquatica
Water-cress Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum
White Clover Trifolium repens
Wild Angelica Angelica sylvestris
Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Yellow Flag Iris pseudacorus