COVID 19 update: Trails are open at this reserve.
Discover the beauty of a wild landscape that ranges from sweeping moorland to dramatic clifftops. A range of fascinating birds, from fulmars, puffins and red-throated divers, to great skuas, hen harriers and stonechats make this their home. Wrap up warm and don't leave without a nod to the Old Man.
Visit the high island of Orkney, where the harder sandstones have been ice-shaped to form the dramatic hills and valleys we see today. The second biggest island in Orkney boasts a surprising range of habitats. Take a stroll through the wild moorland where you might spot hen harriers floating above the delicate summer wildflowers. Enjoy a coastal walk where the awe-inspiring coloured sandstone cliffs along the west coast are home to thousands of wheeling seabirds and precious maritime wildflowers.
The towering sandstone cliffs are spectacular at any time of year, particularly when slanting sunlight highlights the glorious shades of pink, orange, yellow and purple. In June, the calls of thousands of fulmars, guillemots, razorbills and puffins echo around the rugged coast from the world-famous Old Man of Hoy sea-stack to the highest vertical sea cliff at St John's Head.
The dramatic beach at Rackwick is a local favourite with golden sand and huge, coloured sandstone boulders overlooked by the pink cliffs. Perhaps surprisingly, there is ancient woodland here too- the atmospheric woodland at Berriedale is the the most northerly native woodland in the UK.
Information for dog owners:
RSPB Scotland welcomes responsible access in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. This nature reserve is important for wildlife and ground-nesting birds breed here (from 1 April to 15 August). Livestock is also present on the reserve and we would ask that you keep your dog under close control, preferably on a short lead, at all times and please clean up after your dog.