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Nature Reserves in Scotland

In Scotland, preserving the natural environment is in the care of a number of bodies. National nature reserves are the responsibility of the government funded organisation, Scottish Natural Heritage. Other organisations with a conservation brief include the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the National Trust for Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and, notably, the John Muir Trust.

Beinn Eighe in Wester Ross was the UK’s first national nature reserve and remains one of its most spectacular and one area where golden eagles may be seen. Another well-known reserve is the RSPB’s Loch Garten, near Aviemore, forever associated with the return of the osprey to Scotland. There are excellent viewing bird watching facilities here for close-up views of the ospreys on their nest.

Scotland’s nature reserves show a great variety of habitat. There are Hebridean loch and machair reserves such as Loch Druidibeg in South Uists, Highland oakwoods at Ariundle near Strontian, Lowland broad-leaves at the Wood of Cree in Galloway and wildlfowl habitats of international importance at the Loch of Strathbeg, near Peterhead or Caerlaverock near Dumfries. Arctic-alpine botany is an important theme of Ben Lawers in Perthshire, while seabird colonies are offered special protection at many locations including St Abbs Head in Scottish Borders, Fowlsheugh near Stonehaven, Troup Head on the Moray Firth coast, Marwick Head in Orkney, and Hermaness on Unst.

When to visit Scotland’s nature reserves varies with the season – machair flowers in July, seabird colonies in June, spectacular flights of grey geese throughout the winter – but there’s always something to see at these special wild places.


Shetland Orkney Northern Highlands Western Isles Skye & Lochalsh Inverness, Loch Ness & Nairn Aberdeen & Grampian Highlands Aviemore and the Cairngorms Fort William & Lochaber Argyll & Bute Perthshire, Angus & Dundee Loch Lomond, Stirling & the Trossachs Ayrshire, Arran & Clyde Valley Glasgow Dumfries & Galloway Kingdom of Fife Lothians & Borders Edinburgh


St Abbs Head National Nature Reserve (NTS)

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