RSPB Forsinard Peatland Reserve

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Sat, 2009-11-28

At Forsinard Railway Station in the wild Scottish moor-land of Sutherlandshire, you will find Flow Country Visitor Centre.

Here you can experience the wonderful sounds of the native bird-life, watch live action of the Hen Harriers as they rear their young or maybe you will see the Merlin as they learn to fly! Whatever the time of the year, there is plenty to see in the centre!

What does is sound like? What to do if you hear one…We have displays of photographs, showing the varied natural life to see in the Peatlands. There is plenty for children to do, including “experience displays” where they can touch and feel peat, etc.

Fig: Rspb centre

The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. We rely upon memberships and donations to fund our work. the RSPB is helping to preserve this vital area of internationally important habitat. Summer is the time to come, when golden plovers, hen harriers and greenshanks breed. Why not come on a guided bog walk to get up close to the fascinating flora and fauna?

The visitor centre is an important part of preserving our native peatlands and wildlife and there is now an assistant to help you by answering your questions.

Come and enjoy an afternoon’s guided walk in the flow country and experience the wonder of threading your way through the ancient lochans of this unique peatland landscape. Here, birds such as golden plover, dunlin, greenshank and hen harrier breed and may be seen by the keen eyed visitor.

The rolling landscape of bogland, studded with thousands of pools is home to a wide range of rare and unusual birds that share the peatlands with millions of insect eating sundew plants, dragonflies, water beetles and red deer.

The Dubh Lochan Trail

Forsinard comprises 18,000 acres of deep “blanket” bog in the heart of the peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland, sometimes referred to as the “Flow Country”.

RSPB Scotland has managed Forsinard Estate as a nature reserve since 1995. Since then, the reserve has been extended with the acquisition of a number of areas of peatland and three areas of forestry for restoration back to blanket bog at Talaheel, South Fideag and Clach Geala. The recently acquired areas of peatland and forestry are now an integral part of RSPB Forsinard Reserve and as such contribute to the overall value of the site both as a visitor attraction.

RSPB bought it in 1995. These peatlands are of global significance and rarity. Their extreme wetness makes them fragile to trampling. Our footpath, constructed from local flagstones, will take you on a journey through 8,000 years of history and a fascinating array of specialised plants and animals.

Pick up our brochure at the Visitor Centre and follow your progress on the map to locate the marker posts which relate to the text.

Please read our tips on What you will need!


RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Forsinard Peatland Reserve
Reserve Manager
Tel: 01641 571225 (general)
Birds and wildlife advice: 01767 693 690 (office hours)
Membership inquiries: 01767 693 680 (office hours)
Online shop: 0845 1 200 501 (8 am to 8 pm)
All other inquiries: 01767 680 551 (office hours)
Booking and details available, tel: 01641 541 297. Phoning by 6 pm one day in advance essential.
Email: fors…
Nearest town: Thurso, Highland

The Royal Society For The Protection of Birds North of Scotland Office is at Etive house, Beechwood Park, Inverness, IV2 3BW

Tel 01463 715000

Fax 01463 715315

If you would like more information about what the RSPB does, or to join the RSPB please see their web site at:

Fig: RSPB dragonfly

Check also:
Nearer RSPB Food and lodging Station Cottage, Forsinard

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