Scottish Wildlife logo
SWT Membership Link
Scottish Wildlife logo

Kilminning Coast Wildlife Reserve is an area rich in wildlife and history. The reserve consists of a strip of coastland about one kilometre in length and 10 hectares in size. It was established in 1985 and is managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust through an agreement with the owners, Fife Council.

Entrance from Car Park

Entrance from the car park

Access to the Reserve

Kilminning Coast Wildlife Reserve can be reached by taking the Balcomie Road out of Crail towards the Balcomie Links Golf Course. After about 2 kilometres turn right onto the signposted track to the Fife Council Kilminning Picnic Area.

The reserve entrance faces the car parking area that is closest to the sea. There is a public toilet in the car park/picnic site complex.

The reserve can also be reached on foot along the Fife Coastal Path which runs through it.

PRINT OUT a copy of this Web page and take it with you when you visit the reserve.

Back to the Top of the Page


Kilminning Coast


NO 631 087
O.S. Sheet 59


In summer, listen out for the stonechat which has a call like two pebbles being banged together. Also look out for the white flowers of the scurvy-grass which, despite its name, is not a grass at all! Scurvy-grass gets its name from the leaves, which because of their high vitamin C content, were widely eaten on ships to prevent scurvy.

In winter, after the plants have finished flowering, many birds can still be seen on the reserve. Out to sea, cormorants and gannets often fly past. Closer to the shore, you may see the bobbing form of the male eider duck with its striking black and white plumage. On the shoreline itself, oystercatchers can frequently be seen feeding.

Historical Perspective

The first evidence of man's use of the site comes from ancient stone burial chambers called cists which have been found opposite the Kilminning Castle rock. Another burial site, Long Man's Grave, lies at the northeast end of the reserve. In local folklore, it is said to be the final resting place of a great Danish warrior.

During the Second World War the land behind the reserve was used as a Royal Navy Air Station. Remains of some of the defensive works that protected the airfield can still be seen on and around the Reserve.


From the Second World War until recently the site was not grazed. During this time, a small number of tall grass species became dominant and swamped out many other plants. Since 1993 a small number of cattle have been used to graze part of the reserve during the summer months. This grazing will reduce the vigour of the tall grasses and allow a greater range of other plants to flourish. In 1997 a survey of the vegetation communities on the reserve was completed. Such surveys help to determine what effect the grazing is having

Why not visit another of our reserves?
Choose from the drop-down list below
and click on your choice.