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West Quarry Braes Wildlife Reserve is a former refuse tip which has been transformed and revitalised by scrub and tree planting. It is a good site for migrating birds and woodland edge species.

Access to the Reserve

West Quarry Braes is not easy to find as it lies back from a small side road near Crail. See map reference. It is not sign-posted and there is no parking at the road side. The site itself is at the end of an overgrown grassy track between fields.

If you do want to visit it do watch out for broken glass underfoot.

However in autumn the reserve has an attraction for bird-watchers and can be worth a visit along with Fife Ness, Crail and Wormistone.

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West Quarry Braes


NO 597 088
O.S. Sheet 59


The reserve lies just over a mile north of Crail.There are a number of mature willows and ash as well as hawthorn and elders from the time it was used as a refuse dump. There is a wide variety of flowering plants many of which undoubtedly arrived with the refuse or are typical of disturbed ground. There is a deep drainage stream at the West end but otherwise the reserve is dry.

West Quarry Braes is a haven for small birds. And the reserve is used as a Constant Effort Ringing Site to monitor both short and long term changes in the bird population.

Willow warblers, sedge warblers and whitethroats breed annually and chiffchaff and lesser whitethroat have bred. There is a small resident linnet population and corn buntings breed nearby.

In the past there have been winter flocks of corn buntings, tree sparrows and yellow hammers but sadly these are much reduced of late.

The site is a good place to look for migrants in spring and autumn. In autumnn large numbers of blackbirds and redwings can be seen feeding on the brambles and elderberries. Other small passerine migrants undoubtedly pass through during drift arrivals on the East Coast.

Historical Perspective

The reserve was once a set of quarries which for many years were filled in as a refuse dump. Some ten years ago it was landscaped and planted with a mix of trees.


When the SWT took over all the trees were badly damaged by rabbits and roe deer. These trees were given protection and have subsequently grown away well. There have been occasional glass clearing work parties. Some native species of trees and shrubs have been planted.



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