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St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve (image courtesy Kevin Rideout)
St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve (image courtesy Kevin Rideout)
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Formed by active volcanoes, St Abb’s Head is the best-known landmark along the magnificent Berwickshire coastline.

Here, a complex coastline of sheer cliffs, offshore stacks and narrow gullies provide scenic beauty and a habitat for some outstanding wildlife.

Although best known as a seabird colony, this National Nature Reserve includes 200 acres of grasslands rich in flowers, a freshwater loch and a steady stream of migrant birds in spring and autumn.

A long and varied history of human settlement is shown by the presence of an iron age fort, an 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.

Map of St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number 100023880.

How to get there

Site: St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve

Location: On the Berwickshire Coast, 5 miles north of Eyemouth

Car: 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)

Bike: Cycle route from Coldingham to the lighthouse but be prepared for steep hills

Public Transport: Nearest rail station is Berwick-on Tweed. An hourly bus service runs from Berwick to St Abbs via Eyemouth. Busses also run from Edinburgh.

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

Habitats: St Abb’s Head is a prominent rocky headland composed of solid lavas with high cliffs and offshore stacks. The hilly, cliff top grasslands are rich in flowers and butterflies and there is a sheltered freshwater loch surrounded by trees and bushes

Walking route: From the car park, follow waymarked trail to coastal footpath leading to the lighthouse

Birds: In spring and early summer, thousands of Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes nest on the sheer cliffs together with Fulmars, Shags and a few Puffins. Late summer seawatching in onshore winds should produce shearwaters and skuas

Facilities:  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.


Find out more about St Abb's

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