Tentsmuir NNR - Managing the reserve

Tentsmuir is managed to provide a range of woodland, wetland and coastal habitats.




Managing habitats and inspiring people

Tentsmuir NNR is an internationally important coastal reserve on the east coast of Scotland. It’s part of one of the most dynamic coastlines in the UK and is home to birds and other wildlife of international significance. All this makes it one of the best wildlife tourism destinations in Scotland.

A mosaic of habitats

The reserve comprises three main areas: Tentsmuir Point, Tayport Heath and Morton Lochs.

At Tentsmuir Point we manage the diverse coastal habitats to protect and enhance them. This creates the conditions needed for the many species found here to thrive. Where possible, we leave natural processes to shape and change these habitats.

However, in the more stable dune heath there are issues with trees, scrub and invasive species spreading. We manage these through a combination of cutting and grazing. We also maintain the water level in the great slack to support the wildflowers and breeding birds that depend on this area.

At Tayport Heath our focus is on removing new scrub and trees invading the dune grassland.

At Morton Lochs our management focuses on keeping these two wetlands as open water for the species they support. We control the water levels and have recently installed reed beds to filter water and hold nutrients. We manage the vegetation around the lochs. To the north of Morton Lochs we are restoring areas to dune heath by removing trees and scrub.

Engaging people with nature

We want visiting the reserve to be an engaging experience for everyone. Tentsmuir has lots to offer visitors and is an important visitor destination in Fife. Working with our neighbours – Forestry and Land Scotland – we aim to provide a memorable experience for visitors.

We provide and manage facilities that make it easy to access and experience the site. On site, we provide information to engage people with wildlife and encourage responsible behaviour to minimise disturbance.  

The education pavilion showcases information about the seasonal wildlife and nature on this nature reserve, and will bolster the reserve’s education programme and outdoor learning programme, seating up to 60 school children. It will also provide shelter for the reserve’s many visitors, including groups of students and pupils, volunteers, special needs groups and disabled visitors.  The pavilion has been jointly funded by NatureScot and Fife LEADER through the European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development.

Our volunteering opportunities give people the chance to get involved in managing the reserve. We hold events and encourage outdoor learning, which allow visitors and students to engage with staff. By sharing their knowledge, staff enthuse visitors about nature.

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 Tentsmuir NNR:

Protected areas

Tentsmuir NNR overlaps with several protected areas:

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


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