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Natural Heritage

From the magnificent gannet colonies of Hermaness in the far North to the puffin burrows of Sumburgh Head at its Southern tip the whole of Shetland is a paradise for lovers of the natural world.

Turnstone enlarge Turnstone Shetland's geographic location, its hugely diverse geology and the pervasive influence of the sea have combined to create richness in flora and fauna within a relatively confined area allowing even the casual explorer to find unexpected pleasure around every headland and in every bay and inlet.

The islands' geological journey has resulted in a geology that is Scotland in miniature and offers a huge range of important geological features within an easy days drive. It has created a landscape dominated by low hills and deep inlets where no spot is more than 3 miles from the sea. Seabirds and sea mammals therefore play a relatively dominant part in the bio diversity of the islands .

Sea cliffs with thousands of pairs of breeding birds create an awesome spectacle in the summer months and views of gannets and arctic terns feeding offshore are frequent. Sumburgh Head sports probably the most easily accessible puffin colony in the world, a mere few steps from your car.

Seals are a common sight even within Lerwick harbour. Otters and whales are more difficult to spot but the patient and knowledgeable observer can be well rewarded for their efforts with sightings of these elusive creatures.

Add to this a profusion of wild flowers in the spring and summer and a liberal sprinkling of moorland birds and rare migrants and the natural heritage of Shetland has enough to satisfy even the most avid nature lover.

To find out more about the natural heritage of Shetland download our range of free leaflets here or visit the following websites:

Shetland Biological Records Centre

Shetland Nature Festival

Geopark Shetland