Loch Fleet NNR - About the reserve

Loch Fleet is managed for its range of coastal and woodland habitats, overwintering waders and duck and osprey.




Managing habitats and inspiring people

Loch Fleet NNR is a coastal reserve on the north-east coast of Scotland, close to the community of Golspie. An extensive tidal basin fringed by a mosaic of coastal habitats and native Scots pine forest, Loch Fleet is an internationally important wildlife reserve.

Coastal habitat

Our priorities for management are to keep the coastal habitats in good condition. We want to see a succession of coastal habitats from dune grassland and heath to woodland. We therefore remove some trees and scrub from the coastal habitats and try to translocate these into the woodland.  The tidal basin, intertidal sand and mud flats, and saltmarsh are left to natural processes.

The tidal basin and fringe habitats are important for both wintering and feeding birds and seals. We do little to manage these, expect to minimise disturbance to wildlife.

Forest habitat

Specialist species thrive in the pine forest, including twinflower and one-flowered wintergreen. There are also open glades of dune heath rich in grey lichens. We manage the forest to enhance these areas and species populations.

Engaging people with nature

We want visiting the reserve to be a memorable experience for everyone. We see Loch Fleet as a key location for the local community – a place to enjoy nature and an important asset for tourism in the Highlands.

We provide information for visitor at points along the shoreline that have excellent wildlife watching opportunities. We maintain a trail through Balblair woods – an excellent place to see wildflowers. We also maintain a hide overlooking the tidal basin.

We encourage responsible access on the reserve.

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 Loch Fleet NNR:
• 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 which protect the reserve.

Protected areas

Loch Fleet NNR overlaps with several protected areas:

• Loch Fleet Ramsar Site
• Dornoch Firth and Loch Fleet Special Protection Area
• Loch Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest

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

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