Spey Bay

Spey Bay is a beautiful coastal reserve with the largest shingle beach in Scotland. Constant changes caused by the river create a succession of habitats, from bare shingle to coastal grasslands, brackish saltmarsh and wet woodland.

Why visit?

Highlights include:

  • Large numbers of wildfowl offshore
  • Wildflowers and butterflies
  • Breeding terns at river mouth
  • Dolphins

Best time to visit?

  • Spring to summer for butterflies
  • Winter for ducks and divers
  • All year for dolphins

Visit for:

  • birdwatching
  • woodlands
  • wildflowers
  • coasts
  • geology
  • scenery
  • mammals
  • archaeology
  • butterflies

Other information

In summer, breeding terns fill the skies and bottlenose dolphins are regularly spotted at the mouth of the estuary.

The iconic river Spey flows through the centre of the reserve. On the Kingston side is an enjoyable 2.5-mile circular walk which leads along the coast and back through peaceful woodland and grassland. From the Tugnet side you can enjoy a walk along the Speyside Way to the viaduct and back through alder woodland. Look out for seals, otters, deer, terns, waders and ospreys.

The National Cycle Network passes close to the reserve. A combination of high tides and prevailing weather conditions means that the reserve and access roads to the reserve are occasionally flooded by the sea.


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How to get there


Spey Bay lies 9 miles north east of Elgin. The reserve is best accessed from the east of the estuary from the Tugnet car park which is also used for the Scottish Dolphin Centre.

Get directions

Getting onto the reserve

Access can be gained from the car parks at Tugnet to the east of the estuary or Kingston to the west.

Access restrictions

The track is unsurfaced but the walk is relatively flat.

Nearest town
Elgin (9 mi / 14.5 km)
OS grid ref
Landranger map


About Spey Bay

Out & about

Nearby reserves
Gight Wood
Belmaduthy Dam

Local group
North of Scotland

Links & downloads

Reserve leaflet

Reserve map


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