Isle of May National Nature Reserve

NatureScot's Isle of May National Nature Reserve (NNR) will be closed to public landings from 1 July to help protect vulnerable seabird populations from avian influenza.

The measure is the latest in response to growing concern over the spread and impact of the current H5N1 strain of avian flu, particularly in seabird colonies.

We will be keeping the situation under regular review over the coming weeks.

Boat operators will continue to provide round island trips for visitors. 

News release: Island nature reserves close to protect seabirds.

Seals and seabirds

Anchored on the Firth of Forth, the Isle of May is a magical mix of seabirds, seals and smuggling.

In early summer the cliffs heave with nesting seabirds – a noisy spectacle you can witness from the cliff-top path. The island is also home to the unmistakeable puffin – a comical bird that dazzles visitors with its brightly coloured bill. In the autumn the largest Atlantic grey seal colony in eastern Britain breeds on ‘the May’, as it’s known locally.

There’s a dark past here, though, with Vikings and smugglers on the list of previous visitors.

A visit to the Isle of May is an amazing experience. Take a ferry from Anstruther or North Berwick. Explore an island blessed with natural wonders and a rich history.

Find out more about visiting the Isle of May NNR...

Top attractions

  • See puffin – one of Scotland’s best-loved birds.
  • Follow our cliff-top paths to see nesting seabirds.
  • Watch for seals on the rocks as your boat nears the island.
  • Learn about the colourful history of this remarkable island.

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: David Steel
Elmwood Campus
Carslogie Road
KY15 4JB

Telephone: 01738 458800
Email: [email protected]

Find out more

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

Related Links

Follow the Isle of May blog to keep up to date with news from the island or find us on Facebook.

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

Isle of May NNR is a member of VisitScotland and the GTBS (Green Tourism Business Scheme).

Enjoyed your visit?

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