St Abb's National Nature Reserve

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St Abb's National Nature Reserve

At St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve, sheer cliffs, offshore stacks and narrow gullies provide a unique habitat for breeding seabirds which can be viewed throughout the summer months. The nature reserve also includes over 200 acres of grassland with a fresh water loch which attracts large populations of migrant birds in spring and autumn.

The sea bird colonies at St Abb’s are amazing to watch in the breeding season. Stand on the edge of the cliffs and you will see fulmar, shag, herring gull, kittiwake, puffin, guillemot and razorbill feeding their young. The sound of thousands of sea birds calling is one you won’t soon forget.

In late summer  you may spot shearwaters, skuas,  minke whale, dolphins and seals with their pups on some of the rocky shores as you look out to sea.

St Abb’s NNR is beautiful at any time of the year. The high cliffs are home to many native species of flowering plants and butterflies as is the area around the fresh water loch.  

St Abb’s Head has a long and varied history of human settlement as shown by the presence of an iron age fort, early Christian community founded by Aebbe, a 7th Century Northumbrian princess, and a 19th Century lighthouse.

St Abb’s Head is owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and a Special Protection Area (SPA) for its seabird interest. Formed by active volcanoes, St Abb’s Head is the best-known landmark along the magnificent Berwickshire coastline.


From the A1 follow the A1107 signposted as the ‘Berwickshire Coastal Trail’. At Coldingham, take the minor road (B6438) signposted to St Abbs then follow signs for the Nature Reserve. Car park at Northfield Farm (NT914 675)

Disabled Access: An all-ability path leads from St Abbs to a viewpoint on the cliff top at Starney Bay (NT917 677). Less able visitors may drive along the single-track lighthouse road to obtain good views though the cliff top walk is unsuitable because of the uneven terrain

Walk from the car park along the waymarked trails to the lighthouse.


A National Trust for Scotland Ranger Service operates on the site all year round. A Nature Centre (open daily from April to October), coffee shop (not NTS) and toilets are located beside the car park. Tel 018907 71443.

Car parking charges apply

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