St Kilda

Internationally recognised for its birdlife, St Kilda is no less famous for its human history. A community existed here for at least 4,000 years, exploiting the dense colonies of gannets, fulmars and puffins for food, feathers and oil.


St Kilda

As one of only a few mixed natural and cultural World Heritage Sites, St Kilda is Europe’s most important seabird colony and one of the major seabird breeding stations in the North Atlantic. The archipelago, uninhabited since 1930, also bears the evidence of more than 2000 years of human occupation in the extreme conditions prevalent in the Hebrides. It shows the vulnerable remains of a subsistence economy based on the product of seabirds, agriculture and sheep farming.

The islands’ isolation has led to two outstanding examples of remote islands ecological colonisation and genetic divergence in the two endemic sub-species: the St Kilda wren and the St Kilda fieldmouse. The combination of oceanic influences and local geology around the archipelago has created a marine environment of unparalleled richness and colour. The seabed communities are outstanding in terms of biodiversity and composition.

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Did you know..?

Home to nearly 1 million seabirds, including the UK’s largest colony of Atlantic puffins.

Evacuated on 29 August 1930 after the remaining 36 islanders voted to leave as their way of life was no longer sustainable.

St Kilda has its own unique wren, as well as a sub-species of mouse which is twice the size of a British fieldmouse.

There are more than 1400 stone built storage sheds, or cleits, on the archipelago. A unique response to storage by the inhabitants.


Location: Northwest of Scotland mainland

Country: United Kingdom

Year of Inscription: 1986

UNESCO Criteria: (iii), (iv), (vii), (ix), (x)

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For more information about St Kilda, visit the website