Insh Marshes National Nature Reserve

Insh Marshes National Nature Reserve, located near Kingussie and Kincraig, is a very important wetland covering some 837ha. The River Spey runs right through the Insh Marshes which are part of a natural floodplain in the region. This biologically vital marshland was declared a National Nature Reserve in the year 2003. You certainly don't want to miss seeing this marvelous natural region and the wildlife it attracts between the months of November and June.

The RSPB Scotland manages the wetland of Insh Marshes National Nature Reserve, situated in Inverness-shire. Why is this zone of such great environmental importance? Well, it is the greatest river fen system still remaining in the United Kingdom. No matter where you go in the world, wetlands and floodplains are vital for the continued successful functioning of surrounding habitats and provide extensive resources for animal life. As such, the Insh Marshes require careful protection to preserve flora and fauna. The Spey River floods its banks into the wetland of Insh Marshes on several occasions each year. Both melting snow and heavy rains result in flood waters filling up the 10km marshland. This habitat is ideal for some 500 plant species including sedges, grasses and stunning orchids. These plants and waters provide homes for a variety of wildlife including microscopic aquatic creatures. Research has revealed that some 50% of the Goldeneye population in the United Kingdom use the Insh Marsh National Nature Reserve as a nesting ground. Actually, the area is a true birder’s dream with an abundance of curlews, snipes, redshanks, wigeons, Icelandic whooper swans, pintails and spotted crakes. Without the wetland the bird species would not thrive as they do. As summer rolls in many birds leave and domestic livestock takes their place.

Statistics state that about 10 000 individuals come to the Insh Marshes annually, seeking asylum in nature, to observe wildlife and to take in the beauty of the area. Fishing in the Spey River is a popular activity enjoyed by both locals and tourists. To enhance the experience for visitors to Insh Marshes National Nature Reserve there is an information point, providing all the necessary details on what to see and do when visiting. Bird hides offer a great opportunity for spotting rare species. The two nature trails guide you through the splendor of the Insh Marshes. Take a break in nature and enjoy a picnic in the allocated area. The Insh Marshes National Nature Reserve is not only a vital protected area in Scotland, but also a great destination for relaxation.

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