Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve

Occupying the tidal basin of Loch Fleet, on the E coast of Sutherland, 3 miles (5 km) southwest of Golspie in Highland Council Area, the Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve represents the most northerly inlet on the east coast of Britain and the reserve extends to 1058 ha (2614 acres). The associated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Area (SPA) have more larger areas. The reserve comprises an unusual combination of habitats. Extensive sand flats, with beds of eel-grass, support a nationally-important population of wintering birds and some thirty-five species breed here. Surrounding salt-marsh, dunes, shingle ridges, heathland and Scots Pine woodland are important ecosystems, with several endangered species, including the exceptionally rare one-flowered wintergreen (Moneses uniflora). There are also important butterfly and moth populations, foraging osprey, otters and common seals.

Loch Fleet became a Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) Reserve in 1970 and was notified as an SSSI five years later. It was declared a National Nature Reserve (NNR) in 1998 and is now managed as partnership between the SWT, NatureScot and the joint owners, the Cambusmore and Sutherland Estates.

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