Discover Onziebust, a mosaic of glorious wildflower meadows, grassland fields and wetland areas which are a paradise for wildlife. In spring, the fields are alive with the sights and sounds of displaying waders such as lapwings, redshanks, curlews and snipe, and Arctic terns and ringed plovers can be seen on the beautiful sandy beach. Summer sees the fields and roadside verges full of flowers such as yellow rattle, fumitory and vetch, and the rare great yellow bumblebee can be also found here. In winter, flocks of eiders, long-tailed ducks and great northern divers are just offshore. If you're really lucky, you may even spot an otter on Manse Loch or along the coast on your visit to this hidden Orkney gem.
Getting hereFor further information on accessible travel in Scotland, go to Transport Scotland.
Travel by public transport
Egilsay is reached by a roll on-roll off ferry from Tingwall on Mainland Orkney, which can take passengers and vehicles - please visit www.orkneyferries.co.uk for up to date travel information. Vehicles must be booked in advance. Once on Egilsay there is no public transport. To reach the reserve, follow the single track road up from the pier to the crossroads (0.45 miles / 0.7km away) and access to the two nature trails is either straight ahead past the Community Centre for the Beach Trail, or right at the crossroads for the Cairn Trail.
There is a car park at the Community Centre, from which both trails can be accessed. To reach the Community Centre, drive up from the pier to the crossroads (0.45 miles / 0.7km away) and the Community Centre is straight ahead. The car park is level and surfaced.
Path to main entrance
Please note that there is no Visitor Centre and there are no buildings at the reserve. The only facilities are two nature trails around the reserve. There are no accessible toilet facilities on Egilsay.
Getting around inside
Getting around outside
Designated Walking Trail
The Beach Trail is a linear walk and the distance refers to the return journey. The track takes you to the beautiful sandy beach on the eastern shore of Egilsay. There can be livestock along the trail, so caution is advised. The trail starts at the Community Centre and is formed of compressed hardcore for half of its length. After this point, it becomes a rough stony track and eventually turns into grass. Once at the beach, the trail continues along the sandy beach or along a narrow grassy bank at high tide. The track is uneven at the far end and can be wet and very muddy, so appropriate clothing and footwear is essential. It is on a gentle slope. There is no access for vehicles along this track.
Designated Walking Trail
The Cairn Trail is a linear walk and the distance refers to the return journey. The trail follows the surfaced single track road south along the island towards Onziebust Farm. Sections of the road are sloping. A rise partway along the trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding islands. The trail as far as the farm can be driven, and there are good views of the surrounding fields which form the reserve. There is no car parking at the farm. Once at Onziebust Farm, the trail passes through the farmyard, and there are field gates and may also be livestock and moving machinery. The trail then follows a short farm track and crosses a grassy field, accessed via a pedestrian gate, which can be very muddy at times, to the remains of a Neolithic chambered cairn. Unfortunately, access inside the cairn is not possible.
Access to the beach is along the Beach Trail, which is described in the Walking Trails section. There is no vehicle access to the beach.
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