Oronsay is a very special place – the whole tidal island is a nature reserve, farmed under agreement with the owners, Oronsay Estate, by the RSPB for the benefit of corncrake, chough and other Hebridean wildlife. Habitat management is carried out by our flocks of hill sheep and the Luing cattle herd.

 

The island of Oronsay is always open and free to enjoy in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, but visitors are reminded that they are on a working farm with livestock and wildlife free roaming. There are no facilities on the island and formal access is limited to the main track from The Strand to Oronsay Priory. The priory is managed by the owners, Oronsay Estate, please be aware that all buildings around the priory are private. 

 

As a working farm access may be restricted at certain times, especially during lambing, calving and nesting periods. Please abide by all signage on site and leave gates as you find them. Livestock grazes much of the island, so we ask you to keep your dogs on a short lead or close at heel; it may not be obvious when livestock is around. By keeping to tracks you are also helping to avoid disturbance to ground nesting or feeding birds and the wide variety of rare and vulnerable plants that grow on Oronsay.

 

Oronsay is separated from Colonsay by the tide, accessible for a maximum of two hours either side of low water. Please seek advice locally before you visit and make sure you return to Colonsay before the tide comes in or bring enough supplies to cover any wait for the following tide. There is parking for 5 cars on the Colonsay side of The Strand, we do not advise that you drive to Oronsay, difficulties due to soft sand and salt damage to vehicles are likely.

 

For more information, please see the “Colonsay and Oransay Walking Routes” leaflet available on Colonsay and ask for tide information at the Pier, Post Office or your accommodation provider. RSPB Scotland welcomes responsible access in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

What you'll find at Oronsay

Beach at Oronsay | The RSPB

At just over two square miles in size, and with a population of only eight, Oronsay might be small, but its importance for wildlife is immense.