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About Loch Gruinart

Feeding flock of barnacle geese, RSPB Loch Gruinart reserve, Islay

Image: Andy Hay

There's always plenty to see at RSPB Loch Gruinart reserve. In autumn, thousands of white-fronted and barnacle geese arrive from Greenland. When they leave in spring, wading birds take centre stage, with the courtship displays of snipe, lapwings, redshanks and curlews. The corncrake starts its distinctive calling in May; Loch Gruinart is one of the best areas to catch a glimpse of these secretive birds.

Watch it all take place from our viewing centre and hides, or on our Woodland or Moorland trails. Alternatively, join one of our regular walks.

From April to October we offer weekly guided walks as well as special events to showcase seasonal highlights: in May join us on an evening stroll to seek out the elusive corncrake and its distinctive rasping call.

Later in June we watch hen harriers hunting over the Moorland Trail and marsh fritillary butterflies in flight. The Woodland Trail is alive with colour from the bluebells in spring and with birdsong all summer. The willow warbler has an especially lovely song.

As autumn falls lapwing flocks gather together and the flooded pools by the hides come to life again.

In winter Loch Gruinart is the place to be as tens of thousands of wintering geese arrive. Join a walk to witness the spectacle.

Opening times

The reserve is open at all times. The visitor centre is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm except Christmas and New Year.

Entrance charges

Free, but donations to help us continue our work here are welcome. There is a small charge for our guided walks.

Information for dog owners

This nature reserve is important for wildlife and a working farm. RSPB Scotland welcomes responsible access, in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. During the ground-nesting bird breeding season (1 April to 15 August) and in areas with livestock we would ask that you keep your dog close to you, preferably on a short lead and please clean up after your dog. We request that dogs are kept out of the hides.

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 55.82095,-6.35222
  • Postcode: PA44 7PR
  • Grid reference: NR275672
  • Nearest town: Bridgend, Islay
  • County: Argyll and Bute
  • Country: Scotland

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