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

22nd Nov 2019

It has been a busy week at Hessilhead, with 3 buzzards moving out of the hospital, and a male peregrine released yesterday. A new tawny owl found at the roadside last weekend is self feeding but we need to check his eyesight. The 3rd grey seal pup of the winter was brought in from Largs today. Dominating the admissions are hedgehogs. Number 97 arrived from Tiree this morning. He weighs 250 gm, so quite chunky compared to the little one brought in a couple of days ago, at just over 170 gm. These hedgehogs are time consuming, but we are pleased that most are gaining weight and some could be released before Christmas if there is a suitable spell of warmer weather.

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.