Forth: what to see
Head for any of the Forth area’s National Nature Reserves for a taste of the diverse wildlife that lives here.
Explore the secrets of Blawhorn Moss National Nature Reserve. More than 8,000 years of history are locked into the peat layers of this raised bog. Cross the peat on a special boardwalk to discover some of its treasures.
Admire the nodding white heads of bog cotton in early summer. Listen out for the cackle of red grouse bolting from the heather. And simply enjoy being in this oasis of open windswept moors hidden in the lowlands.
Wide, wet and wild
Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve is a vast expanse of all things damp and wonderful. Even from a distance you can make out the perfectly formed domes of peat rising from this ancient landscape.
Closer up, see the swirling colours of the squelchy mats of sphagnum moss that carpet the reserve. Feel the peat gently shudder beneath your feet. Listen for the snipe and stonechat’s distinctive calls. You may even spot an adder or lizard basking in the sunshine.
Where lowlands and highlands meet
You can take your pick of tranquil walks in Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve. Search for fishing osprey from the shore of the loch. Or head to a wooded isle by boat.
Springtime brings a beautiful carpet of wild flowers to the island of Inchcailloch. Watch for insect-eating birds darting from tree to tree, and listen for the rustle of fallow deer in the woodland undergrowth.
In winter, look for formations of visiting geese flying overhead or watch the peaceful paddling of wigeon, teal and shelduck.
An ever-changing landscape
The landscape at Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve changes almost as you watch: the sands here constantly shift with the wind. There’s also the colourful dune heathland to explore.
Seals haul out of the water onto the sands, while birds fill up on the rich mix of food hidden in the mudflats. Just inland, you’ll find the haven of Morton Loch, where you may spot the elusive otter or shy teal dabbling at the water’s edge.
Seals and seabirds
Anchored at the edge of the Firth of Forth, Isle of May National Nature Reserve is a magical mix of seabirds, seals and stories of smugglers. Delve into the island’s dark past and admire the colourful wildlife on display today.
Walk the cliff top path in early summer to see (and hear!) the noisy spectacle of nesting seabirds. The cliffs are also home to the comical-looking puffin – you can spot it by its brightly coloured bill. In autumn, scan rocky shores for the rare grey seal, which breeds on the island.