St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve
ST ABBS, SCOTTISH BORDERS
Sheer cliffs loom from the sea at St Abb’s Head NNR, giving dramatic views of the Berwickshire coastline and providing an early summer home for nesting seabirds. Between May and July, the sandstone and volcanic cliffs of St Abb’s Head become a seabird metropolis accommodating a heaving, squawking mass of birdlife including guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes. You can spy the serried mass of nesting birds in the narrow inlets, or admire their swooping flight as they head out to sea. The rocky grassland on the cliff tops is dotted with colourful wildflowers in summer, such as rock-rose, wild thyme and purple milk-vetch, which support small copper and common blue butterflies. Meadow pipits and flocks of twittering linnets forage for plant seeds while white-rumped wheatears hunt for insects. The deep valley that cuts across the headland from Pettico Wick to Horsecastle Bay provides another different range of habitats. Eels, perch and sticklebacks live in the freshwater Mire Loch, which is also a breeding ground for frogs and toads.
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About The area
Discover Scottish Borders
Southern Scotland is often referred to as the Lowlands, to distinguish it from the mountainous grandeur of the North-West Highlands. But don’t be fooled by the description. In places, the landscape can be anything but flat. This is a different Scotland to the rest of the country in terms of character and identity but, in terms of scenery, no less spectacular and just as fascinating.
Jedburgh, despite its turbulent history, is a peaceful country town beside the serpentine Jed Water, with only the abbey walls hinting at its former grandeur. One of the most elegant of the Border towns is Kelso, with its wide cobbled square at its heart. A poignant fragment is all that remains of Kelso Abbey, once the largest of the Border abbeys, destroyed by the English in 1545.
Like most towns and villages in the area, Melrose developed on the back of the tweed and knitwear industry, which brought wealth to the Scottish Borders, utilising the distinctive, Roman-nosed Cheviot Hill sheep and the availability of water power for the looms. Head to Peebles to shop for locally made knitwear and enjoy the peace and fresh air, where walks, trails and cycleways lead into the wooded countryside.
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