This page provides a brief insight into areas of local interest surrounding the University and within the wider context of Grampian. It is not a comprehensive list of all designated areas but it’s a starting point to exploring the area. Go and discover for yourself.
Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms was made a National Park in September 2003, and is now Britain’s largest. It was designated a National Park due to its unique wildlife and the countryside it contains. The park itself has the largest area of artic mountain landscape at its heart. It’s home to 16,000 people and 25% of Britain’s threatened birds, animals and plants. It contains varying landscapes from moorlands, forests and rivers to lochs and glens.
Further information on the Cairngorms National Park can be found by clicking here.
Cairngorms and North East Water Vole Conservation Project
The University is involved in a large scale project across the whole Cairngorms area which aims to use a sustainable community-based approach to protect water voles and other native species from predation by the invasive alien predator, the American mink. Further information on this project can be found here.
National Nature Reserves
There are four National Nature Reserves within Grampian. These are:
- Glen Tanar
- Muir of Dinnet
- St Cyrus
Forvie is a huge area of sand dunes and coastal heath lying next to the Ythan Estuary. The estuary, riverside and seacliffs combine to make this a particularly rich area for a variety of plants and wildlife. In particular, it supports the largest colony of breeding eider duck in Britain and attracts large numbers of geese and waders in winter.
Glen Tanar is one of the largest and finest remnants of Scotland's native pinewoods dominates this reserve. The glen supports typical pinewood plants and animals. Look out for Scottish crossbill, capercaillie and red squirrel, as well as plants like blaeberry and twinflower.
Muir of Dinnet is a mosaic of reedbeds, woodland, bogs and heath with Lochs Davan and Kinord at its centre. The reserve is home to otter, breeding birds, and wintering wildfowl. In the summer, the mires and bogs are carpeted with red and green Sphagnum mosses and alive with dragonflies. You can visit the 'Vat' a giant pothole carved by a huge meltwater stream during the last Ice Age. The higher, drier slopes of Culblean Hill, along with some of the low-lying drier areas south of Loch Kinord are dominated by ling heather and bearberry heath.
The cliffs and dunes of St Cyrus support a distinctive range of plants, including many southern species. The reserve is also noted for its rich variety of insects, particularly butterflies and over 200 kinds of moth. Breeding birds include stonechats and skylarks, and you’re also likely to see fulmars nesting on the cliffs.
Further information can be found by clicking here.
Local Nature Reserves
Aberdeen City Council Ranger Service manage four Local Nature Reserves around the City. Each was selected as a local nature reserve for their locally significant wildlife, educational opportunities and community involvement. There is a management committee for each reserve made up of local people with an active interest in the site and specialist advisors.
The Local Nature Reserves are:
- Donmouth Local Nature Reserve
- Den of Maidencraig Local Nature Reserve
- Kincorth Hill Local Nature Reserve
- Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve
Further information on all the Local Nature Reserves within Aberdeen City, as well as sites managed by the Aberdeen City Council Ranger Service can be found by clicking here.
There are two Local Nature Reserves in Aberdeenshire, Waters of Philorth in Fraserbugh, and Arnhall Most in Westhill. Use the web link below for further information.
The Waters of Philorth Local Nature Reserve lies at the eastern edge of Fraserburgh, 3km from Fraserburgh on the B9033 Fraserburgh to Inverallochy road.
The reserve incorporates the estuary of the River Philorth and the sand dune complex, which is part of the larger Fraserburgh Bay sand dune system. There are also areas of reed bed, salt marsh and mud flats associated with the estuary. The Waters of Philorth site is known for the diversity of its bird life resulting from the range of habitats.
Arnhall Moss Local Nature Reserve lies on the edge of the expanding settlements of Westhill and Elrick. As one of the few remaining raised bogs in lowland Aberdeenshire the reserve is indeed a special place.
Sites of Special Scientific Interest
There are over 120 Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the Grampian Region ranging from areas of geological importance to areas containing certain plant species. To find out where they are in relation to you follow the instructions below.
- Click here
- Go to the Sitelink logo (second box down)
- Chose Grampian in the SNH Area drop down box
- Chose Site of special scientific interest in the designation drop down box
- Press search
The results will list all SSSIs (10 at a time), each has an individual link to more detail.
There are four designated country parks within Aberdeenshire, they comprise Aden, Balmedie, Haddo and Haughton House.
Aden is located nine miles West of Peterhead, it’s a former country house which. The park includes a farming museum. Further information can be found by following this link.
Balmedie is located eight miles North of Aberdeen. It is a 75 hectare site of dunes and beach. Further information can be found by following this link.
Haddo is located 20 miles North of Aberdeen, and is part of a country house estate. There estate accommodates much woodland and a large loch where wildfowl can be seen. Further information can be found by following this link.
Haughton House is based in Alford, some 20 miles West of Aberdeen. Woods, parkland and a walled garden at the House itself. Further information can be found by following this link.
Forestry Commission Sites
There are nearly 30 forestry commission sites within Aberdeenshire that are open to the public with varying degrees of access, ranging from the infamous Bennachie to the Gartly Moor Forest at Insch. To see a full listing please click here for further information.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Reserves
There are three RSPB reserves within Aberdeenshire, including Fowlsheugh, Loch of Strathbeg and Troup Head.
At Fowlsheugh, if you go during spring and summer you can marvel at the spectacle of hundreds of thousands of seabirds crammed onto the cliffs to raise their young. Guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes are most numerous, but you can also see everyone's favourites, puffins, as well as fulmars and shags.
Loch of Strathbeg is exciting all year-round. In winter, thousands of wild geese, swans and ducks come to the loch. During spring and summer, gulls and wading birds raise their young; otters can be seen fishing in the loch.
Troup Head is one of only two mainland gannet colonies in the UK and the only one in Scotland. It features dramatic, expansive panoramic views along the Moray Firth and beyond.
For further information on any of the reserves, click here and select the one you require.
This page was last updated on 17-Nov-2009 11:34:47 GMT