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Nature & Wildlife

Buchan and the surrounding area are fortunate to have some of the most beautiful nature reserves in the UK. 

Forvie National Nature Reserve

Forvie Nature Reserve is a must for anyone visiting the North East of Scotland. The beauty of the huge sand dunes is complemented by the call of eider ducks, wafting across the Ythan estuary. With the constant shifting of the dunes, layers of history have come and gone. Bird life is plentiful, from wading birds in winter to the largest population of eiders in the UK in the summer. Tern species nest in the dunes and seals are frequently seen at the mouth of the estuary. 

Loch of Strathbeg RSPB Nature Reserve

Loch of Strathbeg The Loch of Strathbeg is wonderful for views of wetland birds-in winter, 20% of the world’s population of pink-footed geese come here. You can also see large numbers of whooper swans, barnacle geese, lapwing, golden plover, mute swans and elusive bittern. In summer, the reserve comes alive with breeding common terns, waders and wildfowl as well as exotic visitors such as little egret, avocet and spoonbill. 310 species of flowering pla nt, 16 species of butterfly and 21 species of mammal, including otter can all be seen on the reserve. Visitors centre and four hides on site. Binoculars and children’s explorer packs available.

The Waters of Philorth Local Nature Reserve

The Waters of Philorth Local Nature Reserve lies at the eastern edge of Fraserburgh. The reserve incorporates the estuary of the River Philorth and the sand dune complex, which is part of the larger Fraserburgh Bay sand dune system. There are also areas of reed bed, salt marsh and mud flats associated with the estuary. The Waters of Philorth site is known for the diversity of its bird life resulting from the range of habitats. Waters of Philorth is a pleasant place to walk or just sit and enjoy. The reserve is open all year round with footpaths providing access to Fraserburgh Beach – a 3 mile stretch of golden sands.  

Troup Head (RSPB)

The high cliffs of Troup Head provide a spectacular setting for Scotland’s only mainland gannet colony. There are also thousands of kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills, along with several other species, including puffins. You may even be lucky enough to see porpoises, minke whales or dolphins offshore.

Bullers o’ Buchan

A couple of miles north of the coast of Cruden Bay lies the Bullers o’ Buchan, a marine erosion with some of the most impressive cliff-side views in Britain. The name is probably derived from ‘boilers’, referring to the seething waters that impact against the bottom of these majestic cliffs. The sea through time has carved caves and inlets into the cliffs, making them spectacular to walk round. A wide variety of seabirds also proliferates at the cliffs, and there are information signs at the Bullers to keep visitors informed of what they may see. 

Pitfour Estate

The Ferguson family were the Lairds of Pitfour from 1700 through to 1924. Their estate stretched from New Pitsligo to St. Fergus (covering 50 square miles). Today the estate is centred on the 12 ha Pitfour Lake with surrounding woodland and farmland. There are only six listed structures still present at Pitfour, three bridges, the Temple of Theseus, a ruined “folly” boat house, kennels, and a range of 1950/60s agricultural buildings. The original mansion house was demolished in 1926. The estate is open to the public to enjoy, offering a diverse range of wildlife. 

Formartine & Buchan Way 

The Formartine and Buchan Way (F&B Way) is a 54 mile off-road route linking Dyce with Ellon, Maud, Fraserburgh and Peterhead. Like most old railway lines, the F&B Way acts as a valuable corridor for wildlife by linking isolated woods, crossing waterways and marshes and providing a sanctuary for plants, animals, birds and insects. The old railway embankments also provide a home for a wide variety of fauna which attracts a great variety of insects and butterflies. With all this potential food and shelter it’s not surprising that birds are also attracted to the F&B Way. The route acts as a wildlife corridor so there is plenty to see along the route throughout the year.

Willows Animal Sanctuary 

Willows Animal SanctuaryWillows Animal Sanctuary provides a lifelong home for over 300 neglected and ill-treated domestic, farm, rare breed and wild animals. We aim to take animals that are unsuitable for re-homing elsewhere and consequently we represent their last hope. Willow’s is unique in that we help people too by offering contact with animals to those who find it therapeutic. We are the only sanctuary in the Aberdeenshire area and are totally dependent on donations from caring people.

Waukmill Menagerie 

A not-for-profit social enterprise that is run by volunteers.  During the week we have additional needs and people suffering from mental health issues etc that volunteer or come for therapy with their carer’s. As well as work experience they gain confidence, reduce stress, learn new skills and receive lots of animal therapy. We are always seeking volunteers as they are a huge part of our plans. If this is of interest to you then please contact us or get a form from reception. 

Waulkmill Menagerie is not just for kids, all ages will love the experience with our very friendly hand reared animals, some of the animals were raised in the house, bottle fed and wore nappies. So if you have not played with a goat on a trampoline or petted an emu then Waulkmill Menagerie is the place to be.  

The Banffshire Coast 

The Banffshire Coast – a place of undisturbed natural beauty where dolphins, gannets, porpoises, puffins, and the occasional whale, make their home. And who would blame them when Banffshire has such an unspoilt environment on the land, in the sea and in the air? Our coastline is dramatic and breath-taking but very accessible and safe with many waymarked cliff top walks. And, there are our special beaches where you may be alone, but never lonely as there’s always the chance to spot the dolphins at play or the gannets fishing for lunch.