Welcome to Orkney’s Nature Portal. This is a ‘one-stop shop’ to find out about Orkney’s amazing wildlife and wild places.
We have gathered material from across the county to help you find out more about the different habitats and species, as well as where to go to see them. We have collected a list of local organisations, who you can contact to find out more about their specialisms. You can even find out how to make your own patch of land more wildlife friendly.
This portal has been funded by “Rural Communities Testing Change” a Scottish Government project through the Scottish Rural Network.
Use these trails to enjoy Orkney’s special landscape and discover more about our rich and varied islands.
Stromness Museum has created this guided walk along the shore in Stromness. It presents the museum`s specimens in their natural homes within the landscape.
Orkney has some great walks for you and your dog. For more information visit here.
The St Magnus Way is a long-distance pilgrimage route through Mainland Orkney, following the story of St Magnus and giving time and space for reflection on the journey. For more information visit here.
When you are enjoying the outdoors, you must follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. For more information on your rights and responsibilities visit here.
Use these guides to help you locate and name the abundant fauna and flora which can be found in Orkney.
Explore Orkneys living seas with this ‘diver’s eye’ virtual tour that offers a unique insight into the underwater environment of the North Isles. To find out more visit here.
Fauna and Flora
Orkney Garden Birds guide
Orkney Garden Birds sheet
Gardening in Orkney brings unique challenges. Find out more how to make your garden more wildlife friendly.
Beaches, trails and hidden woodlands provide perfect places for families to explore Orkney’s fascinating wildlife. Find out where to go, and some suggestions of things to do.
Out and about
Things to do
There are dozens of organisations and groups in Orkney who help to promote and protect our wonderful wildlife. See below for links to their websites.
Historic Environment Scotland is the leading public body which looks after and promotes Scotland’s historic environment. To find out more visit https://www.historicenvironment.scot/about-us
Nature Scot is the leading public body which looks after and promotes Scotland`s Natural environment. To find out more visit www.nature.scot
Orkney Bat Group is a subgroup of Orkney Field Club. It was set up to monitor and observe bat roosts in Orkney. They meet up on a regular and informal basis during the summer. To find out more visit http://www.spanglefish.com/orkneybatgroup/
Orkney Field Club ( www.orkneycommunities.co.uk/FIELDCLUB/) is a local charity which encourages the study and conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the County.
Orkney Marine Mammal Research Initiative (OMMRI) works with the local community to ensure marine mammals are valued and given the protection they deserve whilst in Orkney waters. To find out more visit https://ommri.org
Orkney Native Wildlife Project aims to safeguard the unique and internationally important native wildlife of Orkney by addressing the threat it faces from invasive non-native stoats as well as providing other community benefits. To find out more visit https://www.orkneynativewildlife.org.uk
Orkney Seal Rescue provides care for seals found in distress on local beaches. To find out more visit Orkney Seal Rescue on Facebook.
Orkney Skate Trust is a community group focused on the conservation of the critically endangered Flapper Skate. To find out more visit. https://www.orkneyskatetrust.co.uk
Orkney WHS Ranger Service. Historic Environment Scotland run a Ranger Service for the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. The Ranger’s provide information to visitors about the natural and historic landscape as well as the archaeology and culture of Orkney. They run tours and guided walks at the Ring of Brodgar and other places and give talks and also run activities. To find out more visit www.orkney.gov.uk/Service-Directory/R/Ranger-Services.htm
Orkney Woodland Project gives advice on current grants and information about ancient and modern woodland in Orkney. To find out more visit www.orkneycommunities.co.uk/WOODLAND/
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). SEPA is Scotland’s principal environmental regulator and regulates activities that could lead to pollution or environmental damage. To find out more visit https://www.sepa.org.uk
Species on the Edge is a partnership of eight organisations, all dedicated to tackle the impacts of environmental change on wildlife, to benefit both nature & people. In Orkney the team will be working to safeguard nine Orkney species: Arctic tern; Common pipistrelle; Curlew; Great yellow bumblebee; Lapwing; Little tern; Oysterplant; Plantain leaf beetle; Scottish primrose. For more information visit www.nature.scot/scotlands-biodiversity/species-edge-sote/species-edge-about-project
Stromness Community Garden aims to offer affordable growing spaces for the local community within a supportive environment. To find out more visit https://stromnesscommunitygarden.wordpress.com
The British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) has been involved in the rescue of marine wildlife since 1988. Its mission is to provide assistance to any aquatic (marine and freshwater) animal in need of help and every year trains over 1000 volunteer Marine Mammal Medics. To find out more visit About BDMLR - British Divers Marine Life Rescue
The Orkney Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) was first published in 2003 then revised in 2008, 2013 and 2018. It identifies actions which we can take locally, and which will contribute to the conservation of those species and habitats identified as being ‘at risk’ or ‘threatened’ in the UK. To find out more visit https://www.orkney.gov.uk/Service-Directory/L/Local-Biodiversity-Plan.htm
The RSPB are the largest nature conservation charity in the UK. In Orkney there are 12 reserves across the islands, which are home to important populations of birds and wonderful wildlife. There are sea-cliffs filled with colonies of guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills, heather moorlands that are home to breeding hen harriers and red-throated divers, and wetlands full of wildflowers and waders. To find out more visit https://www.rspb.org.uk/orkney