A Nature Reserve in the Heart of the Highland Capital

Explore this hidden gem in Inverness – a must-do for wildlife enthusiasts!

If you are a wildlife enthusiast then come and see a Highland Nature Reserve which is a hidden gem! Of course, the most famous Nature Reserve in our area is the amazing Glen Affric. However, there is another hidden gem for nature lovers right in the middle of Inverness – the Merkinch Local Nature Reserve.

A walkway in Merkinch Nature reserve

Path in Merkinch Local Nature Reserve © Copyright Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

As some of you may know, we have already mentioned this amazing little place in our blog on Caledonian Canal walks. Interestingly, a visit can easily be combined with a walk or cycle along the Canal to Clachnaharry. So you can make a full day of it and get some exercise along the way!

How to find our Highland Nature Reserve

If you arrive by car, park your car at the end of the turning circle at South Kessock. Then, you can take a minute to look out to sea. From here, you can sometimes see the famous Moray Firth bottlenose dolphins! From here the Nature reserve is signposted. So you just follow the marker from this point onwards.

A dolphin jumping out of the water in the Moray Firth

If you are planning a detour to the nature reserve as part of a walk or cycle along the Caledonian Canal towpath, look out for the signpost between Muirtown basin and Clachnaharry on your right-hand side.

Also, there is a good path suitable for all abilities between the access point on the Canal towpath and South Kessock. Additionally,  this route allows you to explore smaller paths and boardwalks leading into the nature reserve.

About the Nature Reserve

A Roe deer among Heather

Notably, the nature reserve consists of tidal pools, marshes, reed beds and scrubland. So it is a haven for wildlife. And you have a good chance to see roe deer, owls, weasels, herons, cormorants and various wading birds. Moreover, after a busy day, there are lots of benches dotted around the site. So take some time to have a seat and watch the birds!

When you are rested you can enjoy a circular walk around the reserve. This will take between 1.25 and 2 miles depending on how far you explore. So you can either experience this as part of a longer walk or cycle or a quick excursion if you’re short of time. Whatever you choose to do this peaceful little wildlife oasis is a must-see for nature enthusiasts. It makes the ideal haven after the hustle and bustle of Inverness!