Ben Wyvis NNR - About the reserve

Ben Wyvis is an important habitat for a variety of upland birds, plants and geology.



Managing habitats and inspiring people

Ben Wyvis National Nature Reserve (NNR) lies a short distance north of Inverness. The reserve takes its name from the iconic mountain it encompasses – visible for miles around. Ben Wyvis NNR covers more than 2,300 hectares of the slopes, crags and plateau of the mountain.

Ben Wyvis is one of six NatureScot NNRs where repeat fixed point photography is being used to map changes to natural habitats.  This involves re-taking historical photos at the same location, and at the same time of year, which can reveal visual changes of the natural and cultural landscape over several years or decades. This story map illustrates the changes that have happened.

Upland habitats

Our priority for the reserve is to manage the mosaic of upland habitats – keeping them in good condition and restoring damaged areas.

The moss heath on the plateau is one of the most extensive examples of this habitat in Scotland. It is a key priority to restore it to good condition. We do this by keeping herbivore numbers at a sustainable level that does not damage the moss or the other upland habitats. We are also trialling translocating moss patches to eroded areas and protecting them with geojute to help repair damage.

Engaging people with nature

The reserve is popular with hillwalkers, and many visitors climb the hill every year. We encourage walkers and want people to enjoy the reserve.

Over the years, several unofficial routes have developed, especially along the summit ridges, and these have resulted in some trampling damage. We have developed a clearer path to concentrate walkers onto a single route, which has reduced erosion and braiding on the summit ridge. We will continue to encourage visitors to reduce their impact – by staying on the main path – while enjoying their visit.

The NNR includes the open ground on the west and south faces of Ben Wyvis. Access is via the car park and path provided by Forest Enterprise Scotland. The reserve starts shortly after you leave the forest.

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 how we manage Ben Wyvis NNR.

  • The Management Plan - sets out our priorities and tasks for managing the reserve between 2017 and 2027.
  • The Reserve Story - an introduction to the natural heritage, historical interest, past management and designations that protect the reserve.

Protected areas

Ben Wyvis NNR overlaps with several protected areas, including:

• Ben Wyvis Special Area of Conservation
• Ben Wyvis Special Protection Area
• Ben Wyvis Site of Special Scientific Interest

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

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Learn more about Scotland’s National Nature Reserves.

Discover how protected areas safeguard our natural heritage.

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