Tentsmuir NNR - Visiting the reserve
Tentsmuir is perfect for a walk at any time of year and offers exciting opportunities to see birds and wildlife.
Tentsmuir is at the most easterly point of Fife, at the mouth of the Tay estuary. You can access the reserve at Morton Lochs, Tayport or Kinshaldy.
By public transport
There is a bus stop next to Tentsmuir's Tayport entrance at the ‘Tayport Shanwell Road South' turning point. The 42 Stagecoach service from Dundee to St Andrews stops here every 30 minutes. The 42 also stops on request at 'Morton Farm', from which you can walk a mile along the road to get to Morton Lochs.
The 54 Dundee to Glenrothes Stagecoach service serves both of these stops hourly in the evenings.
The Stagecoach website has up to date timetables available.
The nearest railway station is Leuchars (5 kilometres from the Kinshaldy car park) on the Edinburgh to Aberdeen line.
Morton Lochs: Head south from Tayport on the B945 for 2.7 kilometres. Then take a sharp left turn onto a minor road sign posted on the grass verge, which leads to the car park (total distance 4 kilometres).
The road to the car park is single track, with limited passing places and an aggregate surface. There are no height or width restrictions. Free parking.
Tayport: Park in the town and follow the Fife Coastal Path to Tayport Heath. From here you can continue along the path to Tentsmuir Point.
Kinshaldy: Follow the brown Kinshaldy Beach signs from the church in the middle of Leuchars.
For the Kinshaldy car park there is a fee of £2 per vehicle. You need correct change for the barrier.
You can buy a seasonal parking pass for £50. Please contact East Region for more information ([email protected]).
Horse boxes are not allowed in the main car park, but there is parking at Kinshaldy stables.
Car park charges are reinvested in Forestry and Land Scotland maintenance and improvements.
Our Visit Tentsmuir leaflet is a good introduction to the reserve.
The Kinshaldy toilets are open all year round during car park hours (usually 9am to sunset).
There are public toilets in Tayport.
Enjoy a picnic on one of the many tables at the Kinshaldy entrance. Some are accessible for wheelchairs. There are picnic benches at the ice house.
There are benches and perches around Morton Lochs.
There are five wildlife watching hides at Morton Lochs, one of which is on the south loch. The hides are shown on the map in the car park.
The Fullerton hide has limited access and needs a key. Contact NatureScot’s Cupar Office for a key (telephone: 01738 458800).
Trails for all
Follow the shore or forest tracks to access the reserve from either Kinshaldy or Tayport:
- From Tayport village to Tayport Heath is approximately 1 kilometre.
- From Tayport village to the edge of the reserve at Tentsmuir Point is approximately 3 kilometres.
- From Kinshaldy to the edge of the reserve at Tentsmuir Point is approximately 2.5 kilometres.
Morton Lochs offers a number of shorter walks through the forest and overlooking the wetlands.
Birds and seals may be seen at any time of year. Spring and summer are best for flowers.
Colours change from the yellows and browns of winter to the fresh greens of spring growth. Birds are beginning to breed and, if you’re lucky, you’ll see sea eagles and osprey passing through.
The wildflowers are spectacular in summer. Rare and beautiful orchids include the purple northern marsh orchid and the pale coral root orchid. Heather comes into bloom in late summer.
The air is filled with 18 species of butterflies and hundreds of different moths. New species are discovered every year. Dragonflies and damselflies dart in the sunshine and bats flit around in the warm dusk.
Grey seals have their pups in autumn. Birdlife is starting to build up with the arrival of the pink-footed and greylag geese and the bar-tailed godwit. The reserve is rich in fungi in autumn, and you’ll also see the impressively large Limousin cattle that graze the reserve.
At Tentsmuir Point you can spot snow bunting, as well as thousands of pink-footed geese. The grey and harbour seals are still in evidence, and huge rafts of eider duck bob gently on the waves. In recent years sea eagles have been seen around the reserve. Inland at Morton Lochs, look out for wintering teal and greylag geese.