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Young visitors to Sands of Forvie NNR © Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Natural heritage interpretation

High quality, effective interpretation helps visitors to connect with Scotland’s nature and landscapes.

Planning your natural heritage interpretation will help you to structure the process, avoid wasting resources and produce a successful result. Your interpretive plan should also fit in with the business, marketing and/or visitor management plans for a site.

The best interpretive text brings natural heritage to life through storytelling and the use of various creative techniques. Sticking to some simple rules when writing interpretation will make sure that you grab your audience’s attention – and keep it.

Evaluation will tell you whether your interpretation is working well or must be tweaked to meet your set objectives. You should be prepared to make changes to your interpretation in light of your evaluation results.

Providing equal access is a basic principle of good interpretation. It’s also a legal requirement to do so where practicable. For the best results, involve people with disabilities as you plan and develop the interpretation.

High quality interpretation panels in the right setting can be very effective. But they can be counterproductive if badly made or sited. Make interpretation panels attractive and accessible at first glance – people may decide in seconds whether or not to read them.

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