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Sumburgh Head


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At the southern tip of mainland Shetland, Sumburgh Head holds a colony of about 5,000 birds all breeding in the steep grassy banks and cliffs leading up to the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse. This is probably the easiest colony to visit, as it is an RSPB reserve and there is a public road all the way to the lighthouse and ample parking facilities. This is a very ancient colony as Puffin bones are common in the ninth and tenth century dwellings at the nearby Jarlshof Viking settlement.

Within the reserve there are 3 viewing platforms. Nature trails - The path is too steep for wheelchair users who can, instead, drive to the lighthouse where there is a small parking bay and suitable viewing area at the top of the cliff. Visitors walking up to the lighthouse from the car park can view cliff nesting birds from behind any of the stone dykes along the way.

Location: Sumburgh Head, Shetland

Grid Reference: HU407079 Ceremonial County: Shetland Isles

Map Link: Multimap

Aerial photo: Multimap Aerial

Getting there: On the A970 about 0.3 mile (0.5 km) east of the turn off to Sumburgh Airport, turn right (south-east) at Grutness and carry on for about 1.25 miles (2 km) until you reach the main car park. From there it's a 0.3 mile (0.5 km) walk to the lighthouse. For less mobile visitors, there is a small disabled parking area near the lighthouse.

Access: Main Car Park at the reserve entrance, for less mobile visitors there is a car park near the lighthouse.
Website: www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/s/sumburghhead/about.asp

Other Useful Websites: www.nature-shetland.co.uk/birdclub/puffins.htm

Visit Shetland    Visit Scotland - Shetland

Address: Lerwick, Mainland Shetland
Postcode: Telephone: 01950 460800
Opening Times: At all times

Charges: Free entry

Nearby Locations:  Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, Shetland
Other Location Pages:

Notes: Dogs should be kept on a lead at all times, but especially during 1 April and 30 June when many birds nest on the ground.




This page is a Quick Guide, the idea of Quick Guides is to allow very basic information and linking forward information to be added to the system rather than having to wait until a full location guide has been developed. It should therefore be considered a development stage rather than a finished objective. Once more information is known the objective is to create either a Location or Featured Location page which has two grids and far more information.

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid(s) or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park Section: Wildlife Key:
Page Ref: sumburgh_head Topic: Coastal Cliffs  Last Updated: 06/2010


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