National nature reserve (Scotland)

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St Abb's Head NNR in Berwickshire, seen from the south near the village of St Abbs.

The national nature reserves (NNRs) of Scotland are areas of land or water designated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to contain habitats and species of national importance. NNRs can be owned by public, private, community or voluntary organisations but must be managed to conserve their important habitats and species, as well as providing opportunities for the public to enjoy and engage with nature. There are currently 43 NNRs in Scotland, which cover 154,250 hectares (1,542.5 km2),[1] or less than 1.5% of the land area of Scotland.[2] National nature reserve status is an accolade is awarded to the best nature reserves in Scotland, and the selected sites provide examples of nationally or internationally important species and habitats. NNRs are intended to showcase Scotland's nature, and as well as being well managed for wildlife they must be managed to provide opportunities for the public to visit and enjoy them. NNRs therefore generally have visitor centres and trails to allow visitors to explore and understand the habitats or wildlife they contain.[3]

All NNRs in Scotland are also designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Many also form part of the Natura 2000 network, which covers Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation. Additionally, some of the NNRs are designated as Ramsar sites.[4]


National nature reserves were first created under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.[5] In 1996 SNH undertook a review of NNR policy that took account of the availability of other designations conferring legal protection, such as site of special scientific interest, special protection area and special area of conservation. It was determined that NNR should possess four attributes:[5]

  • Primacy of nature - conservation must be the primary land use within a NNR: "nature comes first".
  • National importance - the conservation value of the habitat, species or feature must be such that it is of national importance that the site be managed as a reserve.
  • Best practice management - NNRs must be well managed.
  • Continuity of management - a long-term view is required.

Additionally, it was determined that NNRS should be managed for at least one of three purposes:[5]

  • Raising public awareness.
  • Specialised and pro-active management.
  • Offering opportunities for research into the ecology and its management.

Between 2000 and 2003 the existing NNRs were reviewed against these criteria. Prior to 2004 there were 73 national nature reserves in Scotland, however a number have since been de-designated.[5] New NNRs have also been designated, such as the National Trust for Scotland's Glen Coe and Mar Lodge properties, which were both designated NNRs in 2017.[6]

Since 2012 governance of the NNR designation in Scotland has been through a partnership group, comprising representatives of existing reserve management organisations and community land groups, chaired by Scottish Natural Heritage. Scottish Natural Heritage remain responsible for the formal/legal declaration of national nature reserves.

Maintenance and management

Scottish Natural Heritage is responsible for designating NNRs in Scotland and for overseeing the maintenance and management of national nature reserve.[7] The majority of NNRs are directly managed by SNH, however some are managed by, or in co-operation with other bodies. The NNR partnership consists of nine bodies:[2]

Details on the management of each reserve are shown in the table below.

List of national nature reserves in Scotland

Name Region (as defined by SNH) Management
Abernethy Forest Highlands and Skye SNH / RSPB [8]
Ariundle Oakwood Highlands and Skye SNH / FCS [9]
Beinn Eighe and Loch Maree Islands Highlands and Skye SNH [10]
Ben Lawers Tayside and Fife NTS [11]
Ben Wyvis Highlands and Skye SNH / FCS [12]
Blawhorn Moss Central Belt SNH [13]
Caerlaverock South of Scotland SNH [14]
Cairnsmore of Fleet South of Scotland SNH [15]
Clyde Valley Woodlands Central Belt SNH / SWT / South Lanarkshire Council [16]
Corrie Fee Tayside and Fife SNH [17]
Corrieshalloch Gorge Highlands and Skye NTS [18]
Craigellachie Highlands and Skye SNH [19]
Creag Meagaidh Highlands and Skye SNH [20]
Flanders Moss West Highlands SNH [21]
Forsinard Flows Highlands and Skye RSPB [22]
Forvie Grampian Highlands SNH [23]
Glasdrum Wood West Highlands SNH [24]
Glen Affric Highlands and Skye FCS [25]
Glen Coe West Highlands NTS [26]
Glen Nant West Highlands FCS [27]
Glen Roy Highlands and Skye SNH [28]
Glen Tanar Grampian Highlands Glen Tanar Estate [29]
Glen More Highlands and Skye FCS [30]
The Great Trossachs Forest West Highlands RSPB / FCS / Woodland Trust [31]
Hermaness Northern Isles SNH [32]
Insh Marshes Highlands and Skye RSPB [33]
Invereshie and Inshriach Highlands and Skye SNH / FCS [34]
Isle of May Tayside and Fife SNH [35]
Knockan Crag Highlands and Skye SNH [36]
Loch Fleet Highlands and Skye SNH / SWT [37]
Loch Leven Tayside and Fife SNH / RSPB [38]
Loch Lomond West Highlands SNH / Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park [39]
Mar Lodge Estate Grampian Highlands NTS [40]
Moine Mhor West Highlands SNH [41]
Muir of Dinnet Grampian Highlands SNH [42]
Noss Northern Isles SNH [43]
Rum Highlands and Skye SNH [44]
St Abb's Head South of Scotland NTS [45]
St Cyrus Grampian Highlands SNH [46]
St Kilda Western Isles NTS [47]
Staffa West Highlands NTS [48]
Taynish West Highlands SNH [49]
Tentsmuir Tayside and Fife SNH [50]

Former NNRs, de-declared since 2004

See also


  1. ^ "About NNRs". Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
  2. ^ a b "National Nature Reserves". Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  3. ^ "About NNRs". Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  4. ^ "National Nature Reserves and other protected areas". Scotland's National Nature Reserves. May 2015. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  5. ^ a b c d "The Story of Abernethy National Nature Reserve (Appendix 1)" (PDF). Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  6. ^ "Scotland's Newest National Nature Reserves". National Trust for Scotland. 2017-04-24. Retrieved 2018-02-14.
  7. ^ "Find a National Nature Reserve (NNR)". Scottish Natural Heritage.
  8. ^ "Abernethy NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  9. ^ "Ariundle Oakwood NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  10. ^ "Beinn Eighe and Loch Maree Islands NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  11. ^ "Ben Lawers NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  12. ^ "Ben Wyvis NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  13. ^ "Blawhorn Moss NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  14. ^ "Caerlaverock NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  15. ^ "Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  16. ^ "Clyde Valley Woodlands NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  17. ^ "Corrie Fee NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  18. ^ "Corrieshalloch Gorge NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  19. ^ "Craigellachie NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  20. ^ "Creag Meagaidh NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  21. ^ "Flanders Moss NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  22. ^ "Forsinard Flows NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  23. ^ "Forvie NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  24. ^ "Glasdrum Wood NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  25. ^ "Glen Affric NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  26. ^ "Glen Coe NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  27. ^ "Glen Nant NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  28. ^ "Glen Roy NNR - Management". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  29. ^ "Glen Tanar NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  30. ^ "Glenmore Affric NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  31. ^ "The Great Trossachs Forest NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  32. ^ "Hermaness NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  33. ^ "Insh Marshes NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  34. ^ "Invereshie and Inshriach NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  35. ^ "Isle of May NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  36. ^ "Knockan Crag NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  37. ^ "Loch Fleet NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  38. ^ "Loch Leven NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  39. ^ "The Story of the Loch Lomond NNR" (PDF). SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  40. ^ "Mar Lodge Estate NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  41. ^ "Moine Mhor NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  42. ^ "Muir of Dinnet NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  43. ^ "Noss NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  44. ^ "Rum NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  45. ^ "St Abb's Head NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  46. ^ "St Cyrus NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  47. ^ "St Kilda NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  48. ^ "Staffa NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  49. ^ "Taynish NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  50. ^ "Tentsmuir NNR". SNH. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
  51. ^ a b c d e f g h "Scottish National Heritage" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  52. ^ a b c d e f "Protected area notices". Scottish Natural Heritage. 2018-05-18. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
  53. ^ "Rassal Ashwood NNR De-declarationArchived". 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2018-06-01.

External links

  • Scotland's National Nature Reserves - Official Site
  • Interactive map of designations in Scotland, including National Nature Reserves boundaries (select 'Nature Reserves' in UK Map Layers).
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