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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 00:10 GMT
Highlands a winner for wildlife
BBC Wildlife Magazine's Best places feature
BBC Wildlife Magazine looked at a variety of criteria across Scotland
The Highlands is the best place in Scotland to enjoy nature, according to BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Aberdeenshire, Shetland, Moray and Midlothian also did well in research carried out by features editor Fergus Collins and his team.

They based their findings on the numbers of protected areas, nature reserves and levels of pollution.

The seven-page Best Place to Live if You Love Wildlife feature is carried in February's issue.

Mr Collins and his co-researchers spent eight months investigating the top places to live in the UK for wildlife enthusiasts.

Wild Scotland
According to BBC Wildlife's research, 19% of the region is wooded
Dunbar in East Lothian is identified as a flora-rich hot-spot
Despite its size, the Highlands did not have the range of habitats and species to make it overall winner

The magazine team found Cumbria to be the best in England and overall in the UK.

A combination of low levels of pollution, lack of congestion, huge reserves, wide range of habitats and having the largest area under protection of any county put the Highlands ahead of the rest of Scotland.

Though the Highlands was hard to beat, Mr Collins said the country as a whole was rich in wildlife.

He said: "Trusts such as the Scottish Wildlife Trust have an amazing and vast areas of Scotland protected.

"Scottish Natural Heritage also have a lot of land in Scotland."

Meanwhile, Aberdeenshire was considered one of the best places for woodland and Moray, Clackmannanshire and Midlothian for ancient woodland.

For numbers of bird species, Shetland was the only Scottish entry.

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