Nature Reserves

Argyll’s National Nature Reserves, woodlands, forests and wildlife centres are home to a huge range of rare plants, animals including Scotland’s only wild beaver population and birds from white-tailed eagles to barnacle geese.

The region’s hills, ancient forests, remote shores and seas are teeming with fabulous flora and fauna, so keep your eyes peeled as you explore Argyll’s wild places.

Natures Paradise


Argyll & the Isles has three RSPB Nature Reserves.

The Coll RSPB Nature Reserve, 1,075 hectares of mire, bog, machair and dunes on the west coast of the island, is a key site in the Corncrake Recovery Programme and a haven for wintering geese, breeding waders and farmland birds. Over on Islay, an island which is world renowned its birdlife, there are two RSPB reserves both offering trails, hides and visitor information. 

The Oa RSPB Reserve at the southern end of the island has wild sea cliffs and open moorland, making it the perfect habitat for birds of prey. 

Loch Gruinart RSPB Reserve at the northern end of the island is the place to watch the wintering geese arrive.

And if you want to see the king of the Scottish skies, the sea eagle, then head to Mull Eagle Watch which offers guided visits from two sites on the island.

Woodlands and Forests

Argyll has some of the finest remaining Atlantic oak woods in the country. They’re home to some magnificent wildlife and an array of rare ferns, lichens and mosses. 

Glasdrum Wood near Creagan Bridge is one of Scotland's National Nature Reserves. Ash and oak dominate this beautiful woodland. 

Taynish National Nature Reserve, just south of Tayvallach, is one of the largest remaining oak forests in Britain. The woodland, grassland, heath, saltmarsh and shoreline are home to an amazing variety of wildlife. 

Shian Wood, managed by the Scottish Widlife Trust, is an ancient semi-natural woodland typical jutting out from the southern shore of Loch Creran. Ballachuan Hazelwood on the Island of Seil cloaks a low ridge overlooking Cuan Sound and supports an exceptionally large number of lichen, mosses and fungal species.

Argyll Forest Park stretches from the Holy Loch to the jagged peaks of the Arrochar Alps. It’s Britain’s oldest Forest Park and has so much on offer. You can enjoy the park and its wildlife in three levels: drive the scenic roads, walk or cycle the many way-marked trails or climb up to the mountain tops and ridges.

Unique Habitats

Moine Mhor (the great Moss) National Nature Reserve is a lowland raised bog and one of Europe’s rarest and most threatened wildlife habitats. This rugged and beautiful landscape near Crinan is home to dragonflies, hen harriers, curlews and other moorland and wetland species. 

Staffa, an uninhabited island, is a 45-minute journey from Mull by boat. It’s best known for its basalt columns and spectacular sea caves, as well as its incredible wildlife.

If you want to get up close and personal with a Eurasian beaver in the wild, Knapdale is the place.

At Barnluasgan you’ll find scenic trails which will allow you to see the work of this shy creature and possibly even spot one! 


View all Nature Reserves