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Research visits

Scottish Natural Heritage and our partner organisations manage a suite of National Nature Reserves across Scotland and we encourage people to use them for educational visits external site and research projects.

Research and survey projects

NNRs are used for a wide variety of research and survey projects, including informal surveys by individuals, student dissertations and academic study. We are keen to encourage this as it adds to our understanding of both the reserve and the wider natural heritage.

Small, informal surveys by individuals are included under access legislation (Scottish Outdoor Access Code). If the survey is intensive over a small area or needs frequent repeat visits (such as observations over a few days), the Code advises the surveyor to liaise with the land manager.

In practice we would welcome discussion about any projects taking place on a reserve. This is valuable in several ways - it tells us how reserves are being used; we can help you select the best locations; let you know about similar projects and provide information about the site and its management. It also ensures that your work adds to our understanding of the reserve. We may also be able to provide assistance with accommodation and transport on some NNRs, and we would need to make suitable arrangements for this in advance.

If you are planning to undertake any activity that is not covered by access rights, such as uprooting plants, removing rock samples, or installing equipment, you require our permission before you start.   Some work involving protected species requires a licence from SNH.

Most NNRs are also sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). If you are a public body (including staff and students of a school, college, university or institute), you must notify us of your proposals. If what you propose could potentially damage any protected natural features of the SSSI, you must obtain SSSI consent before starting.

If you are planning to undertake a project, or you are not sure whether this applies to you, please complete and return this form  Word document to If permission, a licence or SSSI consent is required, we will use your form for this purpose. We will usually be able to complete this in less than 28 days, but we will let you know if this is not possible.

Last updated on Wednesday 12th April 2017 at 11:49 AM. Click here to comment on this page