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Conservation work

The 5th Marquess of Bute bequeathed St Kilda to the National Trust for Scotland in 1957. In the same year, it was designated a National Nature Reserve.

St Kilda is now one of 43 National Nature Reserves (NNRs) in Scotland. As well as the important seabird colonies, the unique sheep, fieldmice and wrens, there’s a wealth of marine life around the archipelago. It’s the function of NNRs to safeguard these features, together with the botanical, geological, archaeological and cultural interests, and also to promote good management, research and public enjoyment.

St Kilda has received many national and international designations in recognition of its outstanding natural and cultural heritage.

In 1986 St Kilda was designated by UNESCO as Scotland’s first World Heritage Site, conferring an international obligation on the Trust to ensure the natural heritage of the islands is protected and preserved. This was extended in 2004 to include the surrounding marine environment, and in 2005 St Kilda was awarded dual World Heritage Site status for its natural and cultural significance.

St Kilda is the only site in the UK to have mixed World Heritage Site status and one of only 39 in the world. This exceptional significance means it is essential that its management balances these different conservation needs and so partners from Historic Environment Scotland, NatureScot, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Ministry of Defence are involved in the decision-making process. Working together, the partners will ensure that the islands continue to be protected, cared for, and enjoyed.

Below, you can download a copy of our Management Plan for the St Kilda World Heritage Site for the years 2022–2032, which sets out what needs to be achieved and how this will happen over the next decade.

Through this plan, we will take full responsibility for passing the site onto future generations in the best possible condition. We will contribute to a fairer and better world through linking the plan’s outcomes to the United Nations Strategic Development Goals, that aim to take action to: combat climate change; conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources; and, protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.


Download a copy of the St Kilda World Heritage Site Management Plan 2022–2032 (in English)


Download a copy of the St Kilda World Heritage Site Management Plan 2022–2032 (in Gaelic)