Hides and reserves in Edinburgh & The Lothians

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  • a cluster of long-beaked balck and white plumed birds
    The oystercatcher (image courtesy of RSPB/ Andy Hay - rspb-images.com)
  • Woman and children walking towards a modern building wil steeply sloping angular roof
    The Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick

Edinburgh & The Lothians has a number of nature reserves and centres that provide excellent facilities for viewing the resident wildife that make their home at each.

East Lothian

The reserves in East Lothian are particularly popular with birdwatchers. Aberlady Bay, near to Gullane, is a Local Nature Reserve and home to large colonies of pink-footed geese and waders. There are also a substantial number of breeding ducks including eider and shelduck plus a thriving number of species which are in decline elsewhere such as skylarks and reed bunting. The bay has good shoreline trails and a hide from which to spot the various offshore species.

Many of the islands in the Firth of Forth host substantial 'seabird cities', with perhaps the best known being Bass Rock, sitting around 2 miles north east of North Berwick. This remarkable island is home to around 150,000 gannets, the largest island colony in the world, which can be visited by boat or viewed at the excellent Scottish Seabird Centre courtesy of a live video feed. Puffins, cormorants, guillemot and other species can also be found here and at several other islands in the Forth such as the Isle of May, Fidra and Craigleith. 

West and Midlothian

Elsewhere across the region, there are various reserves that are havens for woodland wildlife of all sorts and which are great places to lose yourself in the peace and quiet.

Ravelston Woods Local Nature Reserve is an atmospheric, ancient woodland with native oak, ash and holly trees. In spring, a carpet of bluebells dominates the landscape. Stop and listen for woodland birds or gaze out across the Firth of Forth.

Almondell and Calderwood Country Park near Broxburn has plenty of open spaces for you to explore. Wander through the bluebells in early summer or take a stroll by the river. Ranger-led walks are available and the visitor centre has displays of local wildlife. There are also ranger-led walks at Muiravonside Country Park near Linlithgow.

Polkemmet Country Park near Whitburn also offers waymarked trails where you’ll encounter grey squirrels, rabbits, foxes and badgers while Straiton Pond Local Nature Reserve is a beautiful watery wildlife sanctuary where you can watch coots and dabchicks from the bird observation post.

Browse the selection of listings below to start planning your visit to a nature reserve in Edinburgh & The Lothians

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5 results, currently showing 1 to 5
  1. Almond Valley Heritage Centre

    Type

    Children's Attractions

    Gradings

    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction

    Livingston

    Friendly farm animals, play areas, green spaces and an innovative museum packed full of things to prod, sniff, shake and discover.

  2. Blawhorn Moss

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    West Lothian

    An oasis of open windswept moors hidden in the lowlands, Blawhorn is a site full of secrets.

  3. Scottish Seabird Centre

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    • 5 Visitor Attraction
    5 Visitor Attraction

    North Berwick

    Get back to nature with a visit to this award-winning, all-weather attraction. Discovery Centre, gift shop, cafe and boat trips.

  4. Red Moss Of Balerno

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Penicuik

    The Red Moss of Balerno is one of only twenty raised peat bogs still surviving in the Lothians.

  5. Erraid Wood

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Edinburgh

    Erraid Wood is a small woodland on the slopes of the Pentland Hills to the south of Edinburgh.

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