National Scenic Areas

Scotland’s 40 National Scenic Areas cover 13% of the land. Their outstanding scenery makes them our finest landscapes.

Our National Scenic Areas (NSAs) include:

  • spectacular mountain ranges – like the Skye Cuillins, Ben Nevis and Glencoe
  • dramatic island landscapes – in the Hebrides and Northern Isles
  • picturesque, richly diverse scenery – such as the NSAs in Perthshire, the Scottish Borders, and Dumfries and Galloway

Legislation defines an NSA as an area “of outstanding scenic value in a national context”.

The designation’s purpose is both to identify our finest scenery and to ensure its protection from inappropriate development. This is achieved through the planning system. The landscape qualities that make each NSA special have been identified.

NSAs are broadly equivalent to the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty found in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The International Union for Conservation of Nature sees NSAs as Category V Protected Landscapes.

Walkers and mountain bikers can find plenty of routes in National Scenic Areas.

Everyone is invited to take part in our Wester Ross Scenic Photo Project.