Noss NNR - About the reserve

Noss is managed to provide a range of habitats for seabirds and other wildlife.

Managing habitats and inspiring people

The island of Noss, off the east of Shetland, is one of the most important seabird colonies in Scotland. In the summer months the cliffs are alive with breeding seabirds. Inland, both Arctic and great skuas nest on the rough grazing and heathland.

Island habitat

Our habitat management is limited on Noss. The island is grazed by sheep, which keeps the grass down in the fields on the lower slopes. For the skuas we focus on minimising disturbance, by keeping visitors away from the breeding colony. We also encourage visitors not to get too close to other species.

Engaging people with nature

We want visiting the reserve to be a memorable experience for everyone. Our aim is to combine access with inspiration.

NatureScot staff run the island ferry and meet all visitors. They introduce people to the island, encouraging visitors to explore and to minimise their impact. Staff engage with visitors and share information about seabirds and other sightings.

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 Noss NNR:

  • The Management Plan – sets out our priorities and tasks for managing the reserve between 2014 and 2024.
  • The Reserve Story – an introduction to the natural heritage, historical interest, past management and designations which protect the reserve.
  • The Reserve Plan Review – an overview of our management of the reserve during the last plan.

Protected areas

Noss NNR overlaps with two protected areas:

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

Find out more on

Related Links