St Cyrus National Nature Reserve

Wild and wet

The windswept, storm-battered dunes of St Cyrus might National Nature Reserve (NNR) seem a little inhospitable. Winter storms and salty winds wreak havoc along the coastline. But natural barriers of inland cliffs and a seaward ridge of sand dunes protect the St Cyrus grasslands from the ravages of the weather. The result is a small strip of warmth nestled on the north-east coast.

This is one of the richest and most diverse reserves in Britain. In summer it’s awash with wildflowers and a haven for insects. There are many species of breeding birds, including meadow pipit, stonechat and skylark. In winter, large numbers of waders, ducks, geese and swans visit the estuary. And native Scottish cattle breeds graze the reserve from April to October.

Whether your interest is birds, botany or butterflies and moths, you’ll find plenty of interest at any time of year. Or just come for a walk and enjoy the sea views. One of the best ways to see the reserve is to explore the paths or walk along the extensive sandy beach.

Find out more about visiting St Cyrus NNR.

Top attractions

• See a huge range of birds at any time of year.
• Follow our trails to explore the sand dunes and enjoy the flower-rich grasslands.
• Look out for peregrine falcon, raven and buzzard overhead.
• Enjoy the butterflies, singing grasshoppers and elusive lizards among the grasslands.

Find out more about the reserve and its natural history.

St Cyrus - car park improvements

The increasing popularity of St Cyrus National Nature Reserve means that our car park is often full. Overspill parking on the verge causes issues of congestion and road safety.  We have applied for funding from the Scottish Government's Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, to improve and slightly extend the car park.  This would include:

  • Resurfacing with a mixture of tarmac and gravel-filled geo-grid to give a more hard-wearing and durable surface
  • Marked-out parking bays to encourage more efficient use of space
  • Creating an extra 15 spaces approximately over current capacity
  • New disabled, bicycle and motorcycle parking areas
  • Some landscaping to create a more pleasant and welcoming environment

The main car park would still be restricted (by height) to cars and light vehicles, with buses or larger vans continuing to use the small car park in front of the office.  We propose to carry out a refurbishment of the public toilets at the same time as the car park improvements.

We welcome your comments on the proposed design.

What’s on?

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


Reserve manager: Therese Alampo

Old Lifeboat Station
Nether Warburton
St Cyrus
DD10 0AQ

Telephone: 01674 830736
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 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.

St Cyrus NNR is a member of VisitScotland.

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

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