Abernethy NNR - About the reserve

Abernethy NNR is home to a wealth of woodland and upland habitats, as well as many rare and specialist species.




Managing habitats and inspiring people

Abernethy NNR stretches from the River Nethy to Ben Macdui, high in the Cairngorms. It covers over 12,750 hectares of Caledonian pine forest, heath and upland habitats. NatureScot manages the Dell Woods area of the reserve, close to the village of Nethy Bridge.

Woodland habitats

Dell Woods is a remnant of the ancient Caledonian pine forest, with pockets of bog woodland in the lower lying areas. The forest is home to many specialist and rare species – including one-flowered wintergreencrested tit and green-shield moss. 

Our priority for managing the woodland is to improve the condition of the forest. We do this by managing herbivores to keep browsing to a level where saplings can establish. This also allows a rich ground layer of flowers and shrubs to establish. In the wetter areas we need to keep the water at a level that favours wet woodlands and bog habitats. We also remove non-native trees.

Engaging people with nature

Dell Woods is on the doorstep of Nethy Bridge and is an excellent place to engage with nature. We maintain a network of paths in Dell Woods that link up with longer routes around the community and wider reserve. Working with Explore Abernethy, we support improvements to the visitor centre in the village. The centre is the main access and information point for Dell Woods.

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 Abernethy NNR:

Our website is still in development and we are continuing to add documents. The links below will be updated as soon as the planning documents are available.

  • 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.

Protected areas

Abernethy NNR overlaps with a number of protected areas, including:

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

Find out more

Related links