Natural Heritage


  • a unique herd of wild cattle

  • an internationally important breeding colony of Arctic terns

  • home to a diverse range range of endangered plants

  • a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protected Area

Swona is surrounded by low cliffs, with some caves and offshore stacks. It is home to an internationally important breeding colonies of Arctic terns. Lush semi-improved grassland is found around the buildings while half the island is covered by a grassy maritime heath. A nationally rare Eyebright grows on the island, along with Oysterplant and two nationally scarce pondweeds. Swona is famous for its herd of wild cattle. Since 1974 they have evolved through natural selection and are now classed as a new and distinct breed – Swona cattle – in the World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds.

Please visit our fauna and flora galleries to see some stunning pictures captured by a few of Swona's patrons: