St Abb’s Head is one of Britain’s most accessible seabird colonies. The sheer cliffs are home to over 30,000 guillemots, 5,000 kittiwakes, and 1,600 razorbills, alongside shags, fulmars, herring gulls and even the odd puffin. The many ledges, cracks and crevices provide the ideal place for these birds to nest in safety, away from predators.
While much of the varied marine life here is hidden from sight below the waves, looking out to sea may reward you with a glimpse of a seal or perhaps even a whale or dolphin.
In summer, the grasslands are carpeted with flowers. Drifts of sea pinks are dotted with rock-rose, wild thyme and purple milk-vetch, attracting many species of butterfly, such as common blue, dark green fritillary and the rare Northern brown argus.
The woodland around the freshwater Mire Loch resonates with birdsong in the summer months, and is a refuge for migrating birds in the spring and autumn. The loch itself is home to mute swans, eels, sticklebacks, frogs and toads, and jewel-coloured damsel flies buzz along its banks later in the summer.
The deliberately low-key Nature Centre outlines the area’s natural wealth, wildlife and centuries of history, supported by leaflets for self-guided exploration. You can also tap into our Rangers’ expert knowledge by booking a guided walk. The Rangers run a variety of educational activities to encourage youngsters to develop an appreciation and respect for the area’s abundant wildlife. Local school groups carry out beach cleaning and litter surveys, while budding naturalists can be trained to become fully fledged ‘mini rangers’.
Next to our exhibition is the Number Four Art Gallery and the Old Smiddy coffee shop, serving lunches and snacks for hungry ramblers.
Did you know?
St Abb’s Head is named after St Aebbe, who founded a monastery here in the 7th century to spread the word of Christianity throughout the region