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Nature Reserves

Loch Fleet Reserve

The Loch Fleet Reserve is a beautiful little treasure located north of Dornoch not far from the town of Golspie. It is a pretty place featuring a variety of habitats and animals, despite the reserve's somewhat diminutive size. Since it is situated on the coast, it has good sand dunes, lovely beaches and a large tidal basin. The beaches are fairly safe for children to play on, though caution should be used at one or two spots near the tidal inlet. Adults, on the other hand, usually prefer to turn their attention to the many plants and animals that have made their home here and they may even choose to leave the beaches to explore the coastal heath, mudflats and pinewoods that can also be found within the confines of the reserve.

If you start your visit along the coast, you will find seals, terns, ducks and other waders going about their daily business. There is also a variety of interesting plants to discover here before heading towards the Balblair Wood where a number of rare pinewood plants can be found. Here, amongst the forest undegrowth you will find red squirrels and roe deer as well as pine martens, Scottish crossbills, treecreepers, sparrowhawks, crested tits, great spotted woodpeckers and buzzards fluttering through the tree tops. If you visit in winter you might spot a peregrine falcon or hen harrier while in summer osprey become a regular feature. Fewer birds and animals populate the Ferry Links heathland, but this is a great place to see orchids and other interesting plants. The healthland habitat supports a variety of butterfly species which are always a delight to see.

All in all the Loch Fleet Reserve covers approximately 1147 hectares of land – including a large tidal basin which supports an impressive variety of life. When visiting, all should take care not to disturb the wildlife and fires are prohibited. Visitors would do best to visit between May and July if they wish to see the reserve’s many flowering plants, or between April and September if they enjoy watching waders ply their trade. October to March is the best time of year to spot wildfowl, but visitors are welcome all year round and there is always something to see.