Wildlife Rescue Trust
Caring for Scotland's injured and orphaned wildlife  


Hessilhead cares for Scotland's injured and orphaned wildlife. It has been running for over 25 years, and became a registered charity in 1986.

The centre is situated near Beith in North Ayrshire. It occupies a 20 acre site, including woodland, marsh and open water. This gives a variety of release sites for our patients.

Hessilhead aims to rescue, treat, rehabilitate and release birds and animals back to the wild, and has facilities and experience to treat all species of Scottish wildlife. Facilities at the Centre include an intensive care unit, a swan/seal hospital with indoor pool, a hedgehog unit, a surgery with x-ray equipment and more than 60 outdoor aviaries, enclosures and release pens.

The centre operates a 24 hour emergency service, and is available to give advice on wildlife problems throughout the day. It is not generally open to the public. This is because our patients are wild, and wild birds and animals are usually frightened of people. Regular disturbance would upset the patients, hamper their recovery, or result in hand-reared youngsters becoming tame.

Hessilhead holds one Open Day a year. This is the second Sunday in June, from 12 noon till 4pm. On this day we aim to show the work of the centre, and guided tours round some of the aviaries, enclosures and hospital will allow visitors to see some of the youngsters being hand reared. Please don't ask to be shown round at other times.

Hessilhead is primarily a voluntary organisation. Volunteers help in many ways such as fundraising, building and maintenance, driving patients to Hessilhead and daily cleaning and feeding. To find out about volunteering, please click here.

The centre is dependent on donations, membership and sponsor-a-patient schemes and fundraising events.

Training courses on handling, care and treatment of wildlife casualties are held throughout the year.

Registered Charity No. SCO04506

Latest news

14th Nov 2019

On Saturday and Sunday this weekend Hessilhead will be joining the RSPB for a Sleepy Creatures event at Kelvingrove museum. From 1 till 4, you can learn how bats, ladybirds and other sleepy creatures cope with winter, and meet some of Hessilheads rescued hedgehogs. There is a small admission charge.

12th Nov 2019

Unusual for us to have 2 peregrines in care at the same time. A female was moved to an aviary today. The male will be fit enough for an aviary in the next few days. Three RTA buzzards are making good recoveries.

10th Nov 2019

Two of our otters, Annie and Millie were released a few days ago. They had been with us since last autumn, having come into care as orphaned cubs. At the release site one of the otters was keen to leave the travelling box and explore the shoreline. The other was hesitant to go, but the first to leave kept returning till both otters set out on a big adventure in the wild