Nature Watching in the Scottish Borders

10 June 2013

With its dramatic hills, lush valleys and craggy coasts, the Scottish Borders is a haven for wildlife and wildlife lovers alike! The vibrant range of wildlife found here means that no nature lover’s trip to Scotland would be complete without visiting the Borders. The diverse landscape found in the region’s 3,800 square miles of land provides local wildlife with a range of habitats which allows everything from woodland inhabitants to marine life to thrive.

If you want to get the most out of your trip to the Scottish Borders, follow our guide to the best nature watching spots:

St Abb’s Head

The craggy landscape formed by volcanic eruptions at St Abb’s Head is a National Nature Reserve due to its. The jagged costal cliffs are the perfect location for seabirds and bird spotters can observe droves of nesting guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills. Looking out over the sheer cliff drops and offshore rock stacks which can reach up to 90 meters high, will give you the feeling of compete isolation but this world-renowned bird watching spot is actually only 4 miles from the A1.

Glentress Forest

This vast forest is one of the top visitor attractions due to the 50 miles of walking, cycling and horse riding trails that span across the forest. While Glentress Forest was always a popular destination for wildlife lovers, the opening of an Osprey Watch Centre cemented this location as a must-see for birdwatchers. The project which aims to encourage osprey’s to settle and bread in the area, has a Watch Centre where young children and adults alike will love watching the live camera feed of these majestic birds. If you’re feeling energetic, take advantage of the forest’s network of trails and watch out for the buzzards and roe deer that also inhabit the forest.

Philiphaugh Salmon Viewing Centre

If you’re traveling with young children the Salmon Viewing Centre in Philiphaugh is the perfect location to educate them about nature. The Salmon Viewing Centre’s underwater cameras gives children the opportunity to watch salmon battle their way up-stream and the interactive games aim to educate children as they play. If the weather is good, venture outside to enjoy the Salmon Viewing Centre’s walled gardens. This tranquil garden is the perfect location to spot otters, badgers deer, foxes and pheasants to name a few of the different species that inhabit the grounds. Look out for the fully working 19th century waterwheel that was restored to its original glory.

Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve

 A favourite spot amongst nature lovers and hill walkers alike, the remote Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve is recognised as a Special Area of Conservation due to stunning landscape, abundant wildlife are rare plants. While the mountainous landscape means that this area is best suited to nature walkers with some hillwalking experience, there are several amazing advantage points which offer spectacular view across the reserve. If you can climb the 60m waterfall, 5th largest waterfall in the UK, watch out for peregrines nesting in the crags. The area is also abundant in ring ouzels and feral goats which roam freely.


photo credit: william smith1 via photopin cc