North Hill

The highest point on the island of Papa Westray in Orkney, North Hill rises to 48m (157 feet) 2¼ miles (3.5 km) north of Holland. The area was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1974 because it represents a rare tract of wild maritime sedge heath habitat, which is home to plants adapted to living in an exposed and saline environment, such as thrift (Armeria maritima), sea plantain (Plantago maritima) and spring squill (Scilla verna), as well as the rare Scottish primrose (Primula scotica). Extending to 201 ha (496 acres), the SSSI also supports nationally-important breeding colonies of Arctic skua (Stercorarius parasiticus), Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) and black guillemot (Cepphus grylle). The area has also been designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for its seabirds, with other important species including lapwing and black-backed gulls, with kittiwake, guillemot, razor bill and puffin on the cliffs. North Hill Nature Reserve is managed by the community in conjunction with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and NatureScot, with the RSPB providing a resident warden during the summer months to guide visitors and record bird activity.

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