Loch Leven National Nature Reserve

Wildlife and history

A huge expanse of open water, Loch Leven National Nature Reserve (NNR) provides an ideal home for countless birds. With more freshwater breeding ducks than anywhere else in inland Europe, and links to Mary Queen of Scots, it combines history and nature. From late summer until spring, tens of thousands of wildfowl also use it for short- and long-term stopovers. Marvel at the awe-inspiring sight of huge flocks of wintering wildfowl. In summer, ospreys patrol the loch in search of a fish supper. Watch the quiet persistence of tufted duck and teal dabbling for food. You might smell sweetly scented holy grass – an ancient form of incense – on the marshy edges of the loch.

The Loch Leven brown trout is famed worldwide for its flavour. It has been imported into fishing lochs as far afield as Canada and New Zealand.

Find out more about visiting Loch Leven NNR.

Water-borne access - please follow our water borne access guidance at all times. 

Current: From 1 September to 31 March we advise against using canoes, kayaks, rowing boats and similar craft because huge numbers for birds are present across the loch and they are easily disturbed. 

Check, clean & dry - Non-native species may be spread by kayaks and other equipment, and are a threat to our native wildlife. Please help to keep Loch Leven pristine and prevent species spreading by following this simple check clean & dry guidance. Find out more about invasive non-native species on the Scottish Canoe Association website here

Top attractions

  • One of the best places in Europe to watch wildfowl.
  • Explore 21 kilometres of trails around the loch.
  • Keep a look out for hunting osprey.
  • In winter watch thousands of geese taking flight at dawn or arriving at dusk.

Find out more about the reserve and its natural history.

Enjoy this video of the pink-footed geese at Loch Leven. 


Migrating pink-footed geese arriving at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve

What’s on?

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


Reserve manager: Jeremy Squire

The Pier
KY13 8UF

Email: [email protected]

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