Forvie National Nature Reserve

Shifting sands and seabirds

Forvie National Nature Reserve (NNR) is one of our natural treasures. The large areas of bare sand and shifting dunes that dominate the southern end of the reserve have been compared to the Sahara Desert. It’s a place of stark beauty.

The reserve covers almost 1,000 hectares of sand dunes and dune heath between the North Sea and the estuary of the River Ythan. It is home to a rich variety of wildlife. Forvie is particularly renowned for its birds. These include a breeding colony of eiders, four species of breeding terns and a wealth of wildfowl and waders.

Best seen from the south side of the river, there is a large seal haul-out at the mouth of the Ythan.

Seals – November and December

Our seals may have pups during November and December. During this time, it is really important that they are not disturbed. Pups may be abandoned by their mothers or crushed as seals stampede into the water to escape from people.

The best way to avoid this happening is to stay on the ‘Dune Trail; marked blue on the reserve leaflet.

If you want to see the seals –and see if you can spot a pup – go to the beach Road car park in Newburgh. It’s the best place to see seals and will help keep the pups safe. Thank you!

The dunes hide layers of history, including Forvie Kirk.

Find out more about visiting Forvie NNR.

Top attractions

  • Watch a huge range of birds at any time of year.
  • Explore the sand dunes on our trails.
  • Visit in spring and summer for colourful flowers on the cliffs.
  • See seals hauled out on the estuary from Newburgh beach.

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: Catriona Reid

The Forvie Centre
AB41 8RU

Telephone: 01358 751330
Email: [email protected]

Related Links

Find Forvie NNR on our blogInstagram or Facebook. Share your photos with us #forviennr

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.

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

Forvie NNR is a member of VisitScotland.

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  • Make a donation to support nature and visitor facilities on our NNRs.
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