St Cyrus National Nature Reserve
While not every nature reserve may be very popular, each of them is equally important. The St Cyrus National Nature Reserve is very often not first on a visitor's list of things to see and do, yet this lovely little Scottish nature reserve carefully preserves a wide variety of distinctive plant species. It features a variety of habitats and is also home to a number of birds and insects. What’s more, the reserve is open most days of the year and access to it is free. This means that no matter who you are, you can enjoy the many natural delights of the reserve at your discretion.
The St Cyrus National Nature Reserve is situated between the village of St Cyrus and the sea. Thus it supports beach, dune, grassland and cliff environments – all of which are essential to the many creatures that live here. The cliffs serve as a breeding ground for terns and fulmars, while both the cliffs and dunes support an interesting number of plants – many of which are southern species. Other birds found here include stonechats and skylarks. The reserve also serves to protect the estuary-like habitat at the Esk River mouth. St Cyrus is well reputed for having a good variety of wild flowers and large breeding bird populations, so visitors who appreciate such things should take special note of this. Entomologists will delight in the fact that there are also a good variety of insects – most notably butterflies and moths. To date more than 200 different varieties of moth have been found in the St Cyrus Reserve.
The reserve is usually accessed via the visitor center which has public toilets, parking, wheelchair access, and is usually open daily between April and October and on weekdays the rest of the year. It can be easily reached by bus from either Aberdeen or Montrose though Montrose is closest. While dogs are allowed, owners should note that dogs should be kept under control and that dog owners are required to make use of the dog waste bins which are available. Most bird watchers and botanists generally prefer to visit during the spring and summer months but those with a special interest in wading birds should come during winter.