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The outstanding landscape at St Abb’s Head is one of the most designated heritage sites in the UK – a real jewel in Scotland’s crown. Our rangers work tirelessly to conserve the natural and cultural heritage here on the National Nature Reserve.

An important part of our work is wildlife monitoring, which tells us how the wildlife on the reserve is faring. By comparing our results to those gathered in other areas means that we have an idea of whether trends we see are site-specific or on a larger scale. This helps us decide what needs conserving, and also what action will help with that conservation – whether it’s on-site intervention or a matter of lobbying government for change.

We also carry out a lot of practical habitat management work. This includes controlling invasive plants like bracken, creeping thistle and gorse so they don’t smother out our beautiful wildflowers. We plant native trees, such as birch, rowan, hawthorn and willow, to ensure we have a varied age structure in our woodland and so that it remains a great habitat for breeding and migratory birds. We repair fences and walls, which helps us manage sheep grazing to maintain the best conditions for our species-rich grasslands and our butterflies to flourish. We keep our footpaths in a good state of repair to make sure that people stick to them rather than trampling on our beautiful grasslands. 

We manage the nature reserve for people to see, enjoy and learn about wildlife. We believe that people want to protect what they value; and to value something you have to understand its importance in the world – and this is where education comes in. The data we gather from our monitoring work helps us tell the story to our visitors of how the wildlife of the reserve is doing. We do this through on-site information at our Nature Centre and on interpretation boards, by face-to-face contact when we’re out on the reserve, as well as by leading walks and via the internet. If we get it right, then people will want to help us protect St Abb’s Head – whether by abiding by codes of conduct, by volunteering to help, by becoming members, by giving donations or by leaving legacies.