The Flow Country is a large, rolling expanse of peatland in Caithness and Sutherland in the north of Scotland. It is the largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe and is home to a rich variety of wildlife.
Together with associated areas of moorland and open water, large areas of the peatlands are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. They are recognised as being of national importance for conservation both as a habitat in their own right and because of the diverse range of rare and unusual breeding birds they support.
The protected peatlands are also part of the Natura 2000 series of sites (Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation), which seeks to maintain representative examples of the range of habitats and species across the European Union.
Flow Country facts
The Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland is part of a vast expanse of blanket bog. It is widely recognised as the largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe.
Blanket bog is a rare habitat which is found only where there is lots of rainfall and not much evaporation. A 'blanket' of peat develops over large areas of ground.
Blanket bog covers approximately 400,000 hectares, 50% of the total area of Caithness and Sutherland. The area we now call 'The Flow Country', with its deep peat and typical patterned pools, covers about 200,000 hectares.
Peatlands are found in at least 175 countries and cover around 4 million km2 or 3% of the world's land area.
The UK is amongst the top ten nations of the world in terms of its total peatland area. The UK has between 9 - 15% of Europe's peatland area (46,000 - 77,000 km2) and about 13% of the world's blanket bog - one of the world's rarest habitats.
Underneath the living peatland surface of The Flow Country is an estimated 400 million tonnes of carbon. That's more than twice the amount found in all of Britain’s forests combined.
For more information visit the flowcountry website