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A hillwalker enjoying the view over Loch Maree from the ascent of the mountain trail at Beinn Eighe NNR, Wester Ross. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library  on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Beinn Eighe NNR - About the reserve

Beinn Eighe – the gateway to Wester Ross – features a wealth of woodland, upland and island habitats.


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Managing habitats and inspiring people

Set up in 1951, Beinn Eighe and Loch Maree Islands National NNR is the UK’s oldest National Nature Reserve. Its 48 square kilometres stretch from loch-side to mountain top. Scottish Natural Heritage manages the reserve.

Woodland habitats

Woodland restoration and expansion have been at the heart of our management of the reserve for over 65 years. This remains the case today. Our next steps will be to maintain and enhance the existing woodland while encouraging natural regeneration.

This will expand the ancient Caledonian pinewoods on the reserve and improve its connection to the wider Wester Ross landscape. We continue to collect local seed and grow it into local provenance saplings in our nursery for planting on the reserve or on neighbouring property.

Our vision for Beinn Eighe is a large, continuous, connected woodland supporting wider biodiversity and more able to withstand change.

Upland habitats

Beinn Eighe also has a wealth of upland habitats. To improve the condition of these habitats we will keep grazing and trampling impacts to sustainable levels. This will also allow natural processes to shape the habitats.

Engaging people with nature

We want visiting the reserve to be a memorable experience for everyone. We already offer a comprehensive array of high-quality visitor facilities, many of which provide access for all abilities on the reserve. The visitor centre and range of trails – enhanced by interpretation boards and leaflets – also help us to achieve that.

We will continue to focus on connecting people with nature on the reserve and in the wider area of Wester Ross. Our aim is to promote Beinn Eighe and Loch Maree Islands NNR as a gateway to Wester Ross.

Management planning

We plan our management carefully to make sure that the special qualities of the reserve thrive. In this way it will always give visitors an enjoyable experience and engage people with nature.

We produce 10-year management plans for our reserves. Find out more about how we manage Beinn Eighe and Loch Maree Islands NNR:

• The Management Plan – sets out our priorities and tasks for managing the reserve between 2015 and 2025.
• The Reserve Story – an introduction to the natural heritage, historical interest, past management and designations that protect the reserve.
• Consultation Report on the Management Plan for Beinn Eighe NNR 2015–2025 – a summary of the responses received during the consultation in 2014.
• The Reserve Plan Review – an overview of our management of the reserve during the last plan for 2009–2015.

Protected areas

Beinn Eighe and Loch Maree Islands NNR overlaps with a number of protected areas, including:

• Beinn Eighe Site of Special Scientific Interest
• Loch Maree Ramsar Site
• Loch Maree Special Protection Area
• Loch Maree Site of Special Scientific Interest
• Loch Maree Complex Special Area of Conservation
• Torridon Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest

Find out more about of these protected areas and their designated features by searching the map.

Find out more

Learn more about Scotland’s National Nature Reserves.

Discover how protected areas safeguard our natural heritage.