How can we help you...

Scotstown Local Nature Reserve

Scotstown Moor local nature reserve On the northern edge of the City, Scotstown has a range of habitats and wildlife. Paths criss-cross the site, taking you to plantation woodland, grassland, heathland, scrub and to marshy grassland and open water. Roe deer, fox and owls are commonly seen at this site. Lovely spot for a walk. Interpretation panels throughout site.

The site was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1994 (51.8ha) and the southern section (12.9ha) was designated a Sitre of Special Scientifice Interest in 1971

Paths are wide, surfaced and on a slope, but not steep. Good access.

There is a car parking with height barrier, accessed form Scotstown Road.

Pedestrian access at various points on Scotstown Road and Dubford Road and Dubford Estate.

Ranger led activities at Scotstown Moor

During the summer months the Rangers organise a range of public events at Scotstown Moor. The Countryside Ranger Service will also lead activities such as pond dipping and minibeast hunts for groups booked in advance.
A Scotstown Moor Local Nature Reserve Education pack is available on loan to schools from the Countryside Ranger Service.

Main Habitats at Scotstown Moor


Large areas of Scotstown Moor are rough grassland. This is great habitat for many small mammals, insects and small birds. This in turn attracts a range of birds of prey such as kestrels, sparrowhawks and short-eared owls and on occasions buzzards and peregrines. Much of the large grassland area north of the car park was probably heathland that was plouged up in the Second World War to grow more food as a part of the war effort.


The area south of the car park is designated as a site of Special Scientific Interest for its wetland ecological interest. In this area the black bog-rush (Schoenus nigricans) can be found. This small rush is only found in a very few places in eastern Scotland but is slightly more common on the west coast. In addition other less common plants thrive in this wet area. These include ragged robin, bog bean, marsh ragwort, northern marsh orchid and cotton-grass. Most of these plants flower in early summer (June).

The wetland habitat also attracts a wide range of butterflies in the summer months. A local speciality is the small pearl-bordered fritillary which was re-discovered on the site for the first time in nearly 30 years in 2007. This rare butterfly had been first recorded at Scotstown Moor back in the 1850's during Aberdeen University field study visits.

Just north of Dubford Road there is a seasonal pond fed by groundwater and rain. This attracts frogs, toads and newts as well as a range of water beetles and other life. Often by mid summer this dries out.


There are pockets of heathland scattered around Scotstown Moor but the largest areas are within the wetland part of the site and towards the north east corner of the reserve. All three native heathers can be found here, ling (Calluna vulgaris), bell heather (Erica cinerea) and cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix). The heather gives a wonderful splash of purple when it flowers in late summer. Heathland also attracts a range of insect and bird species so there is always something to look out for.


Most of the woodland at Scotstown Moor is relatively recent plantation woodland. The older block of conifers along the ridge at the highest point of the reserve is around 70-100 years old and provides a very visible landmark on the horizon in the area. Younger plantations along the Dubford estate side of the reserve date back to the 1980's. Here there is a mix of conifer species including larch, Scots pine, Norway spruce and lodgepole pine and broadleaved species including oak, maple, silver birch and cherry. These wooded areas give good cover for roe deer and a number of bird species. Some years a short eared owl or a tawny owl has been resident for a number of weeks. Other more common 'garden' birds such as great tits, blue tits, goldcrests, greenfinches and bullfinches can often be seen and occasionally great spotted woodpeckers can be heard 'drumming' on the larger trees.

Other sites close by

East Woodcroft (One entrance to East Woodcroft is opposite the Scotstown Moor car park entrance. Please take care crossing this busy road.) Other entrances off Jesmond Drive.

Maps of the Core Path routes can be seen on the Core Paths Plan page.

Back to the Country Parks/Countryside Ranger Service home page.