Hermaness National Nature Reserve

Between March 2021 and May 2022 we will be working on a project at Hermaness NNR - the Hermaness Hill Path and Welcome Area. 

During this time we may have to close access to the reserve or put restrictions in place in certain areas - we will post updates on this page. Please follow any onsite signage and detours that may be in place while some of the works are taking place.

The project is being delivered through a partnership of NatureScot, Shetland Islands Council and VisitScotland and is to enhance the visitor experience at Hermaness NNR.  New recycled plastic boardwalk is being installed to retrace the historic path to Muckle Flugga signalling station on Hermaness Hill, and create a circular route around the reserve.  It will protect the fragile peatland from erosion, and be routed to avoid disturbance to sensitive nesting birds. An interpretation shelter and toilets are being constructed in the car park, and new signs installed at the reserve entrance and at the cliffs.  Old sections of boardwalk are being upgraded, and ditch crossings installed on the cliff path.

The project is funded by the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund, the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, and NatureScot, and is due for completion in May 2022.

Hermaness Hill Project - Partner and funding logos


A feast for the senses

Overlooking Muckle Flugga – Britain’s most northerly point – Hermaness National Nature Reserve (NNR) is a dramatic cliff-top haven for thousands of seabirds. Birds that breed here include fulmars, gulls, shags, gannets, puffins and kittiwakes.

During the summer months, the moorland becomes a carpet of colour. You’ll find heather, crowberry, bog bilberry and mosses on the moor. In the coastal grasslands spring squill comes into bloom followed by the arrival of flowering sea pinks (thrift).

Great skuas – or ‘bonxies’ as they are known locally – soar overhead. Although most of the seabirds are gone by autumn, gannets are still around, and grey seals are often seen reclining on the rocky shore.

Whether you come to watch the birds or simply to enjoy the sensation of being at the edge of the world, you’ll find a stunning landscape. It’s an hour’s walk each way across moorland to reach the seabird cliffs. Allow 3 to 4 hours to explore the whole reserve.

Find out more about visiting Hermaness NNR.

Top attractions

• Watch gannets dive spectacularly into the sea.

• Follow the trail to find breathtaking cliff-top views.

• See puffins coming in to land before diving into their nest burrows.

Find out more about the reserve and its natural history.


Reserve manager: Juan Brown

Ground Floor
Stewart Building
ZE01 0LL

Telephone: 01463 667600
Email: [email protected]

Related Links

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

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

Hermaness NNR is a member of VisitScotland.

Enjoyed your visit?

  • Make a donation to support nature and visitor facilities on our NNRs.
  • Let us know what you thought on TripAdvisor.

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