Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) and sand dunes at the Ythan estuary, Sands of Forvie NNR. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Forvie National Nature Reserve. BUSY – PLEASE AVOID.

We are doing our best to get back to normal but it will take some time to re-open all our facilities safely. Our car parks are open but our toilets and visitor centres remain closed; please plan your visit with this in mind.

We ask that you continue to follow Scottish Government and NHS guidelines and help protect yourself, your family and your local community:

  • Maintain hand hygiene
  • Follow physical distancing guidelines

While you are out and about, please take extra care to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Thank you for your patience and support; we look forward to welcoming you back safely.

Shifting sands and seabirds

Forvie National Nature Reserve (NNR) is one of our natural treasures. The large areas of bare sand and shifting dunes that dominate the southern end of the reserve have been compared to the Sahara Desert. It’s a place of stark beauty.

The reserve covers almost 1,000 hectares of sand dunes and dune heath between the North Sea and the estuary of the River Ythan. It is home to a rich variety of wildlife. Forvie is particularly renowned for its birds. These include a breeding colony of eiders, four species of breeding terns and a wealth of wildfowl and waders.

Best seen from the south side of the river, there is a large seal haul-out at the mouth of the Ythan.

The dunes hide layers of history, including Forvie Kirk.

Find out more about visiting Forvie NNR.

Top attractions

  • Watch a huge range of birds at any time of year.
  • Explore the sand dunes on our trails.
  • Visit in spring and summer for colourful flowers on the cliffs.
  • See seals hauled out on the estuary from Newburgh beach.

Find out more about the reserve and its natural history.

What’s on?

Visit our Events page to see what upcoming events you can get involved in at this reserve.


Reserve manager: Annabel Drysdale

Scottish Natural Heritage
The Forvie Centre
AB41 8RU

Telephone: 01358 751330
Email: [email protected]

Find out more

Discover more about why Scotland’s National Nature Reserves were created and the partners who manage them.

Read our latest news release.

Related Links

Find Forvie NNR on our blogInstagram or Facebook. Share your photos with us #forviennr

Follow our NNR Facebook page for up-to-date information on reserves across Scotland.

Follow SNH’s Scotland’s Nature blog and find interesting articles on Scotland’s natural heritage.

Our visitor centre is rated Gold under the GTBS (Green Tourism Business Scheme).

Forvie NNR is a member of VisitScotland.

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