Your Top 5 Natural Features

Closed 14 Jun 2013

Opened 4 Mar 2013

Results Updated 12 Jul 2013

Your Top 5 Natural Features

As a way of celebrating the Year of Natural Scotland 2013, we have been asking people their top 5 natural features in East Lothian. Due to the range of responses – the results were grouped into 3 categories;

  • Natural Places
  • Natural sensations
  • Wildlife

Perhaps it is not surprising that most of the responses were in some way related to our coastline. It is encouraging to see how many value this natural asset and continue to enjoy our beaches, shores and adjacent lands. Let’s ensure we continue to look after this habitat – and all others – for the foreseeable future.

 Across the three categories, the most votes overall went to natural places in East Lothian. This is evidence of a strong affection people have for certain locations. The top 5 results for the natural places were as follows;

  1. John Muir Country Park
  2. The Bass Rock
  3. Traprain Law
  4. The Lammermuirs
  5. North Berwick Law

Of these, John Muir Country Park received the biggest vote in all 3 categories, reflecting both the site’s popularity, diversity and its intrinsic wildlife significance. The next 4 top spots were all secured by lumps of rock that stick up – does this say something about the way we appreciate landscapes or does it reflect the relative wildlife value of these areas? Probably a bit of both.

Other places that were popular, but which just failed to make it into the top 5 included; Pressmennan Woodland, the coast at Dunglass, Yellowcraig and the River Tyne corridor.

In the ‘Sensations’ category, there were fewer entries, but a top three emerged, which were;

  1. Waves crashing onto the beach at Dunbar
  2. Light and light percolating through beech leaves
  3. The aroma of wild garlic in spring

So, if you have never experienced these sensations why not make a point of going outdoors and finding out for yourself! Or, allow yourself time somewhere else to pause and contemplate what it is about a place that really makes it special for you.

Finally, in the wildlife category, there were many subjects on which you voted. Birds, in general, comfortably made up for the greatest number of votes, reflecting our ongoing admiration for all things avian. Even breaking down birds into specifics, they did well in the category with the top  5 responses:

    1 =  Pink-footed Geese in the autumn

    1 = Gannets in and around the Bass

    3 =  Swallows

    3 =  Bats

    3 = Wildflower meadows


So, what does all this mean? Well as a great statistical analyst once said, ‘66 2/3% of results are all made up’ (V. Reeves, 1992) and are as such meaningless. Alternatively – and more likely - it means that there is a wealth of wildlife, attractive places and senses out in East Lothian to capture the imagination, to inspire and fill you with awe. So why not get out this summer and go and appreciate some of it?

Thanks to all who voted!

Duncan Priddle

Countryside Officer

July 2013


2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland. Expect to see and hear much debate as to what the top 5 natural things are in Scotland.

Within East Lothian we are keen to see what you think. We could suggest our own top 5, but you may wish to disagree and suggest your own.

What can I choose?

Anything or anywhere – it could be a plant, an animal, a bird, a place or a sensation; just something that really connects you to the natural landscape.

For example it could be

  • hearing song thrushes sing in Spring
  • tasting the first bramble of the autumn
  • just being at Yellowcraig.

There are no right and wrong answers.

Submit your votes before June 15th. Results will be announced in July.

East Lothian countryside montage


  • All Areas


  • Community Councils
  • East Lothian Council Tenants
  • Local Residents
  • Visitors / Tourists / Non Residents
  • Parents & Guardians
  • Disabled People
  • Children & Young People
  • Service Users
  • Tenants and Residents Associations


  • Parks & open spaces