Our coast and inland waters

Getting to know and understand our coast and inland waters is an important part of looking after and valuing the beach environment. Scotland has much to offer and our beaches are great places to explore, often close to heritage sites or offering great wildlife watching opportunities.

Scotland's coasts and seas are dramatic, varied and highly productive. Most of us live within only a few kilometres of the coast and wherever you are in Scotland, you are never more than 65 km from the sea. Scottish Natural Heritage is funded by the Scottish Government to promote and conserve our natural heritage and have some great resources and information, we particularly like Scotland's seas interactive.

Surveys and Citizen science are a great way to learn more about the environment and also to contribute to our overall understanding of specific environments. Several organisations have easy to access citizen science projects that you can get involved in.


We support a number of educational based campaigns to keep our beaches clean and environmentally friendly. Some of the campaigns we promote are:

  • Beat the Microbead - an international campaign which aims to get microbeads banned from cosmetic products. Microbeads are small pellets of plastic which are used in the production of cosmetics and can end up being washed up on beaches.
  • Keep the Cycle Running - a Scottish Water campaign aimed at reducing the amount of inappropriate items flushed down the toilet or put down the sink. This can include wipes and cotton buds.
  • Litter Less - a Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) initiative run in 21 countries. It encourages children and young people to take their work on litter and local environmental quality beyond the school gate and affect long-term behaviour change in their community. It is coordinated in Scotland through the Eco-Schools programme.
Clean Up Scotland
Find out more abbout our national campaign Clean Up Scotland, including how to organise beach cleans.

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