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Wildlife & nature reserves

Otters, golden and sea eagles, basking sharks, red squirrels, seals, puffins, deer, porpoise: the hills, ancient forests, remote shores and seas of Argyll and the Isles are teeming with wildlife. The region’s seven National Nature Reserves and many more wildlife centres are home to a huge range of rare plants, animals and birds including Scotland’s only wild beaver population.

Spring is the time to see wading birds including lapwing, redshank, curlews and drumming snipe. Further south, the coastline and open moorland provide habitats for rare choughs and golden eagles. Mull has become known to many as ‘Eagle Island’ thanks to its population of golden and white-tailed sea eagles. Over on Islay, in autumn thousands of geese flock to the island.

Argyll has some of the finest remaining Atlantic oak woods in the country. Once forming a complete fringe down the west coast of Scotland, these oak woods can now only be found in fragmented patches. Bluebells, wood anemone, primroses and other species form a colourful spring display, and deer, badgers, red squirrels, night jars and pine martens make their homes here.

Take a boat from one of the region’s many harbours for a chance to see seals, basking sharks, minke whales, porpoises, risso’s, white-beaked and bottlenose dolphins in the wild. If you’re very lucky you might see sperm, humpback and orca whales around the northern isles of the Inner Hebrides.

Jura is famous for its red deer population. In winter you have a good chance of witnessing the magnificent beasts as they come down from the higher ground in search of food. Listen out for antler rattling in the hills as the stags battle it out for dominance during the rutting season.

Header image by Martin Keivers.
Explore like a local
Iain Johnston Iain
Kintyre & Gigha
Lynn Jones Lynn
Walking & Wildlife
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Fearnoch Forest
Fearnoch Forest
Fearnoch is a lovely, quiet woodland near Taynuilt and is ideal for a stroll, cycle or horse-ride. Enjoy the dramatic views to Ben Cruachan from picnic tables above the...
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Fyne Sea Tours
Fyne Sea Tours
Enjoy one- and two-hour boat trips on Loch Fyne with Fyne Sea Tours. Operating from Portavadie, Loch Fyne with pick-ups from Tarbert Harbour, it's a great way to...
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Glasdrum Wood National Nature Reserve
Glasdrum Wood National Nature Reserve
Glasdrum Wood near Creagan Bridge is one of Scotland's National Nature Reserves. Ash and oak dominate the woodland at Glasdrum. Where sunlight can penetrate between...
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Glen Nant Woodlands National Nature Reserve
Glen Nant Woodlands National Nature Reserve
This rich woodland of native trees blankets the slopes of Glen Nant near Taynuilt. One of Scotland's National Nature Reserves, it's a fine example of Atlantic...
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Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation
Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation
Visit the Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation at its new visitor centre at Barr an Daimh (opening April 2017) and find out about the fantastic variety of wildlife the...
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Highland Titles Nature Reserve
Highland Titles Nature Reserve
This lovely nature reserve near Appin offers a beautiful range of walks. There's woodland, moorland, mountain and lochans to sit by. The new higher level walk has...
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Islay Natural History Centre
Islay Natural History Centre
The Natural History Centre in Port Charlotte, Islay, is a fascinating place to visit. There are wonderful displays illustrating the island's rich wildlife, from its...
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Islay Sea Adventures
Islay Sea Adventures
Join Islay Sea Adventures for a wildlife adventure! You'll experience another side of Islay that's only available from the sea. This is Islay’s only 4*...
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Largiebaan Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve
Largiebaan Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve
Largiebaan covers some 1,600 hectares on the west coast of south Kintyre.It's a large and diverse reserve, with plenty of interesting features and diverse wildlife....
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Loch Fad Fishery
Loch Fad Fishery
Loch Fad on Bute is a wonderful spot for trout and pike fishing. It's classified by Scottish Natural Heritage as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) for...
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Lochbuie to Carsaig Coastal Walk
Lochbuie to Carsaig Coastal Walk
A superb shore walk on rough terrain with fantastic views of the clifffs, basalt formations, a sea stack, native woodlands and several waterfalls. There is an option...
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Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve
Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve
Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve is a surviving remnant of raised bog and is home to dragonflies, hen harriers, curlews and other moorland and wetland species. In...
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Mull Eagle Watch
Mull Eagle Watch
Join eagle experts or a ranger-led visit to discover Mull’s white-tailed eagles – Britain’s largest and most impressive bird of prey. There’s...
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Mull of Kintyre Seatours
Mull of Kintyre Seatours
From its base in Campbeltown, Mull of Kintyre Seatours runs regular wildlife-watching trips. Popular tours are to Sanda to see the seal colony, puffins and many other...
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Puck's Glen
Puck's Glen
Puck's Glen, just outside Dunoon, is a magical woodland world. With moist shady undergrowth and enchanting gorge, it's a really atmospheric place. There are...
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RSPB Loch Gruinart Nature Reserve
RSPB Loch Gruinart Nature Reserve
Situated in one of the most beautiful parts of Islay, the RSPB Loch Gruinart Nature Reserve is a fantastic place to see wildlife all year round. In autumn, thousands of...
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RSPB The Oa Nature Reserve
RSPB The Oa Nature Reserve
With rugged coastline and open moorland, the diversity of landscapes make The Oa Nature Reserve a real pleasure to visit. Situated in the south west of Islay, you can...
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Seafari Adventures - Marine Wildlife Tours
Seafari Adventures - Marine Wildlife Tours
Seafari Adventures are Oban's 5* Visit Scotland marine wildlife tour operator. Based in Easdale, 16 miles south of Oban they have a fleet of powerful RIBs which are...
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Sealife Adventures
Sealife Adventures
Located on the mainland near Oban, Sealife Adventures is a 4-star wildlife experience operating in a whale, dolphin, eagle and seal hotspot. All trips visit the...
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Shian Wood
Shian Wood
Shian Wood is an ancient semi-natural woodland typical of the Atlantic coast of Scotland. The wood stands above the surrounding land on a low, flattened ridge which juts...
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