Forsinard Flows nature reserve, in the far north of Scotland is a rolling expanse of blanket bog, sheltered straths – a name for broad river valley – and mountains. The wild and rugged landscape is part of the Flow Country – one of Scotland’s national treasures. The RSPB is lucky enough to have cared for more than 21,000 hectares of it for over 20 years.
Best visited in the spring and summer, look out for Golden Plover, Dunlin, Greenshank, Hen Harrier, Skylark and Meadow Pipits while walking our trails. Lizards lurk along the edge of the boardwalk and swallows often nest in the Flows Lookout Tower. Dragonflies dart around the pools, while frogs and water insects hide beneath the water’s surface. Insect-eaters Sundew and Butterwort are scattered across the landscape – these plants may be small but they sure have attitude – luring flies into their sticky traps.
Our rarer species, including Red-throated and Black-throated Divers and Common Scoter, tend to live out in the remote pools and lochs at the heart of the Flow country, so it's unusual for visitors to catch a glimpse of them.
This is a place of rare habitats developed over thousands of years. The deep layers of peat that lie beneath the surface of the blanket bog are a hugely important carbon store. Peat bogs are a crucial defence against climate change, locking away carbon so that it’s not released as carbon dioxide. They cover just three percent of the world, but hold nearly 30% of all the earth’s carbon.