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An aerial view south over the Cairngorms from above the RSPB's Abernethy Forest reserve. Glenmore, Cairngorm.  ©P&A Macdonald/SNH

Abernethy NNR

A mountain, forest and moorland mosaic

Home to some of Scotland’s most spectacular wildlife, Abernethy is a mosaic of ancient Caledonian pinewood, moorland, bog and mountain plateau. Look out for some of the pinewood residents – red squirrels or siskins. Or head for Loch Garten to see the imposing ospreys nesting high in the tree tops.

RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage manage Abernethy NNR. Find out more:

Temperate Oak (Sessile petraea) woodland at Ariundle NNR, West Highland Area.  :copyright:Lorne Gill/SNH

Ariundle Oakwood NNR

Hearts of oak

This peaceful woodland is a rare surviving fragment of the native oakwoods that once spread along the Atlantic coast. Ariundle Oakwood has a huge diversity of mosses, lichens, liverworts and ferns and is home to rare and beautiful butterflies and dragonflies.

Scottish Natural Heritage manages Ariundle Oakwood NNR. Find out more:

Scot's pine and waterfall at Beinn Eighe NNR ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Beinn Eighe & Loch Maree Islands NNR

Where eagles dare

With its cluster of mountain peaks, ancient pinewoods, dazzling dragonflies and soaring golden eagles, it’s no wonder this was Britain’s first NNR. Take advantage of the trail network here and be amazed by the diversity of wildlife that thrives on this reserve.

Scottish Natural Heritage manages Beinn Eighe and Loch Maree Islands NNR. Find out more:

Ben Lawers and An Stuc, Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve in winter.  ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Ben Lawers NNR

Top for plants

Famed for its botanical riches, the rare mixture of lime-rich underlying rocks, high altitude and climate combine to make Ben Lawers a haven for a huge diversity of plants. The lush vegetation of the lower slopes gives way to rare arctic–alpine plants – e.g. alpine saxifrage and gentians – clinging to life high on the mountain.

The National Trust for Scotland manages Ben Lawers NNR. Find out more:

Ben Wyvis NNR

On top of the world

Summit Ben Wyvis and you’ll feel like you’re on the roof of the world – with the Highlands laid out beneath your feet. The mossy cover on the Ben’s summit hides many secrets – including dotterel in summer and the pure white camouflage of ptarmigan in winter. The slopes of this mighty mountain are home to a unique mix of plants adapted to the harsh conditions.

Scottish Natural Heritage manages Ben Wyvis NNR. Find out more:

Blawhorn Moss NNR - staff measuring peat depth.© Lorne Gill/SNH

Blawhorn Moss NNR

Wide, wet and wild

An oasis of open windswept moors hidden in the lowlands, Blawhorn Moss is a site full of secrets. Follow our special boardwalk across the peat, and you’ll soon discover some of its treasures. Enjoy the nodding white heads of cotton grass, the colourful mosaic of mosses and dashing dragonflies.

Scottish Natural Heritage manages Blawhorn Moss NNR. Find out more:

Wetland at Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve. September 2012  ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Caerlaverock NNR

Sand, sea, mud and merse

A visual melting pot of swirling blues and greys, the mudflats of Caerlaverock provide a winter feast for birds like barnacle geese, bar tailed godwit and knot. In the summer, the saltmarsh flowers merge with the sea and the backdrop of Criffel at dawn and at dusk. Caerlaverock's ever-changing scenery lies within the Nith Estuary National Scenic Area.

Scottish Natural Heritage manages Caerlaverock NNR. Find out more:

View north over farmland looking towards Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR. Dumfries and Galloway NNR.  :copyright:Lorne Gill/SNH D18/08418

Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR

A wilderness experience One of the wildest places in south-west Scotland – but still surprisingly accessible – Cairnsmore is a paradise for walkers. There are wide-ranging views and a patchwork of muted colours from the low-growing vegetation. Watch out for peregrine falcon, red and black grouse, red deer and feral goats. Scottish Natural Heritage manages Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR. Find out more:

Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve. Strathclyde and Ayrshire Area.  :copyright:Lorne Gill/SNH

Clyde Valley Woodlands NNR

Steep gorges, ancient woodlands and living history

The reserve is made up if six of the best ancient woodlands in Clyde Valley. These rich deciduous woods cling to the sides of steep gorges. In spring colourful wildflowers carpet the woodland. See the woods at their most spectacular in their rich autumn colours. You’ll find rich and varied bird and mammal life throughout the year.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) and South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) manage this NNR. Find out more:

Ciore Fee NNR, Glen Doll, Angus. copyright:Lorne Gill/SNH

Corrie Fee NNR

A flourish of flowers

This reserve was sculpted thousands of years ago by ice, which left behind corries, cliffs, moraines and a meandering river. This breathtaking landscape is a haven for scarce arctic–alpine plants, birds and animals. Corrie Fee’s path is popular all year round with hillwalkers, and the crags are well known for winter climbing. Watch out for beautiful alpine flowers, rare mountain willows clinging to the crags, golden eagles and peregrine falcons.

Scottish Natural Heritage manages Corrie Fee NNR. Find out more:

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