There’s no better way to shake off the winter blues than wrapping up warm and getting out to explore nature. Wintering wildfowl gather in large numbers on our lochs, ptarmigan and mountain hares sport their winter coats, and red squirrels are very visible at this time of year.
Thanks to supporters including players of People’s Postcode Lottery the Trust manages 120 wildlife reserves across the country. Here are just a few of our top places to explore during winter.
Garnock Floods, Irvine, Ayrshire
This reserve is grazed by cattle to keep the ground suitable for wildfowl and waders that flock here during winter. Pochard, little egret and whooper swans are among the many different kinds of bird that you might see.
Loch of Lintrathen, Kirriemuir, Angus
This beautiful inland loch is a fresh-water reservoir for Angus and Dundee. Large numbers of wintering wildfowl including greylag geese, wigeon, tufted ducks and goldeneye gather on the reserve during winter. The two hides on the banks of the loch are accessed by separate paths, and the hide on the eastern shore is wheelchair accessible.
Duddingston Loch, Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s only freshwater loch is an important site for wintering wildfowl and includes areas of mixed woodland, scrub, grassland and reedbeds. Otters have been spotted swimming along the shore in winter. Traditionally Duddingston Loch was a popular spot for ice skating. This inspired the famous painting The Skating Minister by Henry Raeburn.
Loch of the Lowes, Dunkeld, Perthshire
It’s a few months until the return of the reserve’s most famous residents but there is always plenty to see at Loch of the Lowes. This is one of the best places in Perthshire to see red squirrels.
They are very visible in winter while the vegetation is sparse, and they have to stay very active through winter to find food. Birds including grebes and shovellers can be seen on the loch, and our feeding window is particular bust at this time of year.
Loch Ardinning, Stirling
A picturesque, visitor-friendly wildlife haven with areas of wetland, woodland, grassland and moorland. A short nature trail takes you along the north shore of the loch. In winter the reserve is a good place to see wintering birds including whooper swans. Roe deer can often be seen on the reserve.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust manages 120 wildlife reserves throughout Scotland, covering more than 20,000 hectares thanks to supporters including players of People’s Postcode Lottery. With 90% of the population living within just 10 miles of their closest Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve, you’re never far away from your next wildlife encounter. Find your nearest wildlife reserve.