Fair Isle

Quick facts

  • European Diploma of Protected Areas (code UK940002)
  • Since 1985
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Administrative region: Not available
  • Surface area: 8 km2 (830.00 ha)
  • Marine area: Not available

Source and more information: Council of Europe


Site contact authorities

Manager Mr. Alexander Bennett Factor Highland Abertarff House Church Street Inverness IVI IEU UK
Information The National Trust for Scotland 5 Charlotte Square Edinburgh EH2 4 DU
Official contact international  
Official contact national  
Official contact regional  
Official contact local  


General character of the site Fair isle is an isolated and almost completely treeless island lying between Orkney and Shetland, whose climate is influenced by the Gulf Stream. In the summer there are 21 days of fog per month, on average. The landscape is of two types: moorland and cliff to the north and gentle terrain and mugged coastline to the south where the land is comparatively fertile with grasslands and some arable cultivations. Most of the 70 habitants are farmers (crofters) living on 19 crofts, tenure of which is generally hereditary; activities include a knitting co-operative, some fishing and tradition crafts namely: fiddle making, boat building. 
Vulnerability The population of the largely self-sufficient island community is now above a critically low level but still need to increase to about 80.Despite the small airstrip, access to the island is difficult on account of frequent fogs and bad weather; and there is a safe haven for shipping in bad weather. 
Owner The island has been the property of the National Trust for Scotland since 1954. 
Documentation Council of Europe - European Diploma Series (1986), Fair Isle National Scenic Area - United Kingdom, Strasbourg, 31 p. 
Habitat types  
Potential vegetation  
Educational interest -The George Waterston Memorial Centre and Museum-School (Primary) 
Cultural heritage Fair Isle had a population of 380 in 1861. Today there are 19 families with about 70 people, the critical threshhold for the community's continued existence. Vestiges of the past include a watermill system, stone walls, a numb of archaeological sites and many grain drying kilns. 
Management plan  
URL official http://www.fairisle.org.uk/ 
URL interesting  

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100