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Isle of May National Nature Reserve

Firth of Forth

This island nature reserve at the entrance of the Firth of Forth has long been famous for its birds, especially migrants in the spring and autumn. A bird observatory was built here in 1934 and over 250 species have been recorded. In summer the cliffs hold large colonies of guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. Back from the cliffs the ground is honey-combed with the burrows of nesting puffins, some 40,000 pairs breed here. Arctic and common terns also nest. There have been lighthouses on the Isle of May for over 300 years. The first one was built in 1636. It used to burn 400 tons of coal a year and up to three tons on a long winter’s night. The existing lighthouse was built by Robert Stevenson in 1816. Information centre and well marked trails.

Opening Times

The island is open to the public from 1 May to 1 October



Isle of May National Nature Reserve

Firth of Forth
Phone: 01334 654 038
Isle of May National Nature Reserve


5 miles east of Anstruther. Daily sailings (weather permitting) from Anstruther

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Accommodation nearby