Renfrewshire Heights

(Renfrewshire Hills)

A range of hills and undulating moorland which forms a broad plateau across Inverclyde, W Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire, the Renfrewshire Heights (or Renfrewshire Hills) are centred on the Hill of Stake (522m / 1712 feet), with an average elevation exceeding 305m (1000 feet). They are to some extent synonymous with the Muirshiel Hills, while their southeastern section is known as the Kilbirnie Hills and their southwestern section are the Largs Hills. They rise as steep escarpments from the Firth of Clyde in the north and west, while their southeastern edge is represented by a more gentle slope. Despite proximity to centres of population, few roads penetrate this area. The range lies wholly within the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, while an area of 8943 ha (22,098 acres) was designated as the Renfrewshire Heights Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 2006 and as a Special Protection Area (SPA) the following year in recognition of its importance to breeding hen harriers.

Geologically, the Renfrewshire Heights are generally formed of Carboniferous basalts, mugearites and trachytes of the Clyde Plateau Volcanic Formation, with Carboniferous and Devonian sedimentary rocks to the south. Tertiary dolerite dykes cut across these formations and have brought the hydrothermal deposition of minerals, such as barytes and copper, both of which have been mined commercially. The lower slopes are covered by till created by the action of glaciers.

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