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Article published 18/05/2022

On Wednesday 18 May, the new Hermaness Boardwalk project launched around NatureScot's Hermaness National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Shetland.

The new hill path and welcome area has been officially opened, and will allow visitors to enjoy nearly 2 kilometres of new boardwalk, which retraces the historic path to Muckle Flugga signalling station on Hermaness Hill, and creates a circular route around the reserve. 

The project to enhance the visitor experience at Hermaness NNR, located on Unst in the Shetland Islands, has been delivered through a partnership of NatureScot, Shetland Islands Council and VisitScotland. 

The work has been funded by £580,704 from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund £286,300 from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund and £19,857 from NatureScot.

The boardwalk will also protect the fragile peatland from erosion, and be routed to avoid disturbance to rare nesting birds.

The improved facilities also include a visitor hub at the car park, providing a new information shelter and toilets.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve Welcome point. Credit NatureScot

Hermaness is a truly special place, with spectacular cliffs that are home to internationally important populations of seabirds including puffins, great skuas and gannets.

As Scotland’s nature agency, we aim to inspire many more people to discover and value our natural world. These fantastic new facilities will help locals and visitors alike connect to nature at Hermaness for generations to come, as well as protect the nature reserve and provide many benefits for Shetland communities.

Francesca Osowska, Chief Executive at NatureScot

The Hermaness project is a great example of an initiative that enhances the visitor experience and enables more people to access the incredible natural wonders of the UK’s most northerly nature reserve, whilst still helping to preserve the fragile ecosystem.

The 2km of new boardwalk helps to create a fascinating circular route around the reserve, highlighting the amazing seabird colonies and providing spectacular views of Muckle Flugga lighthouse. The interpretive panels around the new shelter provide a wealth of information on both the natural and manmade history associated with the reserve.

We all need to play our part in being responsible visitors and RTIF projects such as this one in Hermaness will help ensure our visitor destinations remain sustainable for years to come.

Steve Mathieson, Development Manager for Shetland at VisitScotland

This is great news for tourism in Shetland and in Unst particularly. Hermaness NNR is an outstanding natural visitor attraction that draws many folk to the isles every year. These upgraded facilities will improve the visitor experience and help to protect the natural environment for the future.

Councillor Ryan Thomson, one of the councillors for the North Isles ward

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