Wildlife trail

Shetland is one of Europe's key wilderness areas and both geography and climate combine to make it a mecca for wildlife-watchers.

Inevitably, the islands are a haven for many species of birdlife, particularly seabirds which roost in their tens of thousands in the National Nature Reserves at Sumburgh Head, Noss and Hermaness.

You'll also find otters here along the coasts and of course, Shetland's famous native ponies while the Keen of Hamar reserve is home to a unique collection of rare plants that have adapted to survive the blasted landscape.

distant shot of white lighthouse sitting on rocky headland

Sumburgh Head National Nature Reserve


Sumburgh Head RSPB reserve is the most accessible 'seabird cities' in Shetland and is home to thousands of puffins, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, kittiwakes and shags in the breeding season.

looking along rocky coastline to a green flat headland jutting out in to the sea

Noss National Nature Reserve


One of Shetland's main natural nature reserves, the dramatic island of Noss with its towering cliffs supports an incredible array of nesting seabirds.

distant shot along featureless archipeligo with ipen sea beyond

Keen of Hamar National Nature Reserve


Resembling a lunar landscape, this remarkable nature reserve on Unst is home to some of Britain's rarest plants.

looking along the steep high cliffs of a rocky coastline

Hermaness National Nature Reserve


Hermaness NNR is a prime birdwatching location in Shetland, being home to huge colonies of puffins, gannets and other species including the infamous 'bonxie' skua.