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20 March, 2020

Most of Scotland's National Nature Reserves open but visitor facilities closed

As a result of the latest advice on the Coronavirus pandemic from the UK and Scottish Governments, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has closed public facilities, including visitor centres and toilets, on its National Nature Reserves across Scotland for the health and safety of both staff and visitors.

However, most of SNH’s beautiful and varied reserves remain open for the public to enjoy during this difficult time, while following the social distancing guidelines set by the government.

Due to its exceptional location and circumstances, the Isle of May National Nature Reserve will close to all other than resident SNH staff who will continue to its management on a care and maintenance basis. In addition, it is expected that Noss National Nature Reserve will not open in May as planned, but this will be reviewed as circumstances develop.

This will be a very stressful and anxious time for many people, and spending time outdoors and connecting with nature can help improve physical and mental health. In a recent survey, around 9 in 10 outdoors visitors reported benefits to their mental and physical wellbeing, with 67% saying it helped them to relax and unwind and 64% saying it improved their physical health.

Stewart Pritchard, SNH’s Senior Advisor on Nature Reserves, said:

“At SNH, we are working hard to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic in a way that ensures we look after both our staff and the public we serve. Our advice is to take care of yourself and others by following the government’s social distancing guidelines and, when possible, relax and keep active by continuing to explore and enjoy local nature reserves, parks and spaces.

“Simple activities such as getting out for a walk, breathing fresh air, listening to birdsong or watching wildlife can all greatly improve our health during times of uncertainty and stress.”

Find details of national nature reserves in each area of Scotland at

For those unable to get out and about, there are also podcasts available, telling stories about Scotland’s nature, habitats, landscapes and native species, at


For more information, contact the SNH press office on or 0131 316 2655.

Contact information

SNH Media

Notes to editors

There are 43 national nature reserves in Scotland. These are special places that look after some of the best of Scotland’s nature on behalf of everyone who lives or visits Scotland, and they provide unique opportunities to visit, enjoy and learn more about Scotland’s nature.

Scottish Natural Heritage is Scotland's nature agency. We work to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. We work to ensure that all nature in Scotland - our key habitats and landscapes, all our green space and our native species - is maintained, enhanced and brings us benefits. It is the job of all of us to achieve a balance in the sensitive management of our natural world in order to maintain and enhance biodiversity. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

'S e Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Tha sinn ag obair airson ar n-àrainneachd nàdarra ann an Alba a thoirt am feabhas agus a h-uile duine a bhrosnachadh gus barrachd cùraim a ghabhail dhi. Gus am bi an nàdar air fad ann an Alba – ar prìomh àrainnean is chruthan-tìre, ar n-àiteachan uaine gu lèir is ar gnèithean dùthchasach - air an gleidheadh, air an leasachadh 's a' toirt bhuannachdan dhuinn. 'S e an dleastanas a th' oirnn uile co-chothrom ann an stiùireadh faiceallach ar saoghail nàdarra a ruighinn airson bith-iomadachd a ghleidheadh 's a leasachadh. Airson an tuilleadh fios, tadhail air an làraich-lìn againn aig no lean air Twitter sinn aig


Scots pines at Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve ©Lorne Gill SNH

Scots pines at Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve ©Lorne Gill SNH

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St Cyrus National Nature Reserve: Please credit Lorne Gill/Scottish Natural Heritage

St Cyrus National Nature Reserve

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