Date of notification: 1957,1984

National Grid Reference: SH269949

OS 1:50000 Sheet number: 114

1:25000 Sheet number: SH39

Area: 17 hectares (42 acres)


A group of small rocky islets used by seabirds and grey seals. The Skerries used to be one of the major breeding sites for terns particularly arctic terns in the British Isles. Numbers declined from the several thousand pairs recorded in 1905 to being completely deserted in the 1960s. However, arctic terns have returned and 150 pairs bred there in 1983. A gullery, principally of herring and lesser black - backed gulls – 650/700 pairs in 1983 – is also present. Other breeding species include puffin (150 pairs), shag, oystercatcher , red –breasted merganser and rock pipit. Bird migration studies have shown that the islands are a significant station for autumn migrants.

Grey seals use the islands principally as a hauling-out place.


  1. Managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as a nature reserve in agreement with the owners to safeguard the ornithological interest of the islands.