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River North Esk
The River North Esk is a medium energy river. Its upper reaches are on granite in the Cairngorms massif, its middle reaches are in the foothills of the Cairngorms in glacial valley floors and its lower reaches are in the coastal plain. The North Esk is 69km long, has a catchment area of 732 km2 and a mean annual discharge of 19m3s-1. Its major tributaries are the West Water and the Luther Burn. The main settlements are small towns and villages. northesk01 300


The water quality in the upper reaches is generally good with the lower stretches classed as poor. The Luther is classed as moderate.

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The North Esk starts in the CNP and has 5 SSSIs in the catchment. It is known to support the BAP habitat blanket bog and is also likely to support bogs, fens, fen, marsh and swamp, neutral grassland, purple moor grass and rush pastures, and wet woodland.

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The sensitive habitats riverside aspen stands, riverside birch woods and lush bank vegetation are also likely to be present. Protected species known to be present in the catchment are water-crowfoot species, otter, bats, little tern, kingfisher, grey wagtail, house martin, dipper, common sandpiper, lapwing, redshank, snipe, curlew, oystercatcher, cormorant, great crested grebe, heron, coot, moorhen, goosander, black-headed gull, common toad, common frog, palmate newt and salmon. In addition, there are likely to be BAP/LBAP species river shingle beetles, a stonefly, northern blue damselfly, wych elm and aspen.  SNH holds macrophyte and SERCON data and SEPA holds data from 1 RHS site.


Biosecurity Issues

INN species present include Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, Himalayan Balsm, crayfish and mink.

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