COVID UPDATE: The hide, car park and nature trails are open at the site. Please follow the guidance on site regarding distancing and maximum numbers in the hides. Masks should be worn inside the hide unless exempt. All of Scotland’s wild places and green spaces are vital for the survival of its unique, amazing wildlife. If you plan to head out to these areas please respect and protect Scotland’s great outdoors and leave no trace. Thank you. #RespectProtectEnjoy #ScottishOutdoorAccessCode #CheckBeforeYouGo
The Loons and Loch of Banks are the largest remaining wetlands in Orkney, and the perfect places to see wetland wildlife at its best. Enjoy the tranquillity of pools surrounded by yellow flag iris, while the sounds of wading birds, ducks and geese fill the air.
The reserve supports several species of breeding duck, including wigeons and pintails, and there are impressive numbers of wading birds, such as lapwings, snipe and curlews. In winter, these wetlands attract several hundred ducks and at The Loons a flock of up to 100 Greenland white-fronted geese.
The reserve is also home to the great yellow bumblebee, one of the country’s rarest bees and confined to Orkney, Caithness and the Western Isles.
There is a hide at the north of The Loons reserve (grid ref: HY246242), close to the Marwick road, which offers views over a section of the wetland and reedbed. At the Loons there is also a three-car layby (grid ref: HY251246), with an information panel, which overlooks the reserve.
Both The Loons and Loch of Banks are best viewed from the road. Please avoid entering the marsh as it can disturb the birds.
For more information on the accessibility of this reserve please visit: https://www.accessibilityguides.org/content/rspb-scotland-loons-and-loch-banks
Information for dog owners
This nature reserve is important for wildlife. RSPB Scotland welcomes responsible access, in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. During the ground-nesting bird breeding season (1 April to 15 August) we would ask that you keep your dog close to you, preferably on a short lead and please clean up after your dog.
Buses pass the end of the Marwick and Dounby roads daily.
The reserve is off the minor road that connects the B9056 and A986, north-west of the Loch of Isbister.