The Thriving St Abb’s Reserve

If you are looking for a great place to spend some time getting better acquainted with Scotland’s on and offshore animal life, the St Abb’s Reserve is a great place to go. Better known as the St. Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve, this protected area is protected by the goodwill of those people who choose to use the area rather than by a specific group of paid professionals. These ‘volunteers’ adhere to the Code of Practice that has been established to ensure the continued survival of marine and animal life in the area and this code should be strictly obeyed by visitors too, both for the conservation of the plant and animal life in the area and for the safety of yourself and the general public around you.

The St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve was opened by Sir David Bellamy on 18 August 1984. In total the marine reserve covers some 1030 hectares of land. This includes 8 kilometers of coastline and extends roughly 1.5 kilometers into the sea where the continental shelf dives to a depth of approximately 50 meters. The highest point in the reserve is St. Abbs Head, which is 90 meters above sea level. A sandy beach located at Coldingham Bay provides the perfect place for long, relaxing walks while the St. Abbs harbor is home to a small fishing fleet that makes use of more traditional methods of crab and lobster fishing. These waters around the Berwickshire coast are particularly favored by both scuba divers and marine biologists as they not only have an amazing variety and abundance of wildlife but they are also incredibly clear which means you can see much more than you would usually be able to. An example of the more unusual creatures to be found here is the wolf-fish. This creature is usually found in Arctic waters while the Devonshire cup-coral is usually found in warmer waters so it is quite rare to see the two together in the same environment. The underwater scenery is also made interesting for divers who can explore shipwrecks, caves, surge gullies, arches and boulder fields.

If you are not particularly inclined to diving in the frigid waters, there is plenty to be seen on land. Puffins, Shags, Razorbills, Guilliemots, Kittiewakes and Fulmars all have well-established breeding colonies onshore. Both plants and animals are particularly abundant in spring and early summer and this is usually the best time to visit. Further to all this, the St Abb’s Head Reserve is surrounded by several other conservation areas such as the Berwiskshire and North Northumberland EMS which works hard to protect the reefs, sea cafes and cliffs for the sake of the numerous breeding colonies which can be found here. So take a trip to the St Abb’s Head Reserve and enjoy this great little spot!

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