Coastal meadow

The shoreline is about 35 km long, comprising of 250 ha of coastal meadows. The common redshank and velvet scoter can be seen on the coast, a typical species is the western yellow wagtail that quite numerously nests on the wooded meadows of the bays of Mõniste and Mõisalahe. The common ringed plover has been registered on the shores of the bays of Mõniste and Pivarootsi, the common tern in the bay of Ännikse and the arctic tern on the shores of the bays of Pivarootsi, Rame and Puhtulaid. The most typical plant species on the coastal meadows is the marsh angelica.

A big part of the coastal meadows is currently not being tended to or is in a stage of restoration. Fast regrowth of reeds threatens these areas if their maintenance is interrupted. At the same time, these areas are already very species-rich.


Reedbeds stretch out on an area of about 250 ha, largest of them are the reedbeds in the bays of Mõisalahe and Kasse. Suitable living and nesting habitats for the Eurasian bittern, an endangered and rare bird species, are mostly in the reedbeds of the bay of Kasse where wintry reed cutting is being regulated in order to better the conditions of the species.

Typical bird nesting in the reeds is the water rail that can mostly be seen around the bays of Vanaluubi and Kasse. The spotted crake nests in the swampy wooded meadows of Rame and the edges of the reedbeds of Kasse Bay, the western marsh harrier can be seen in the coastal reedbeds in the bay of Mõisalahe and islet of Kõbajalaid. The reedbeds of the reserve are also suitable nesting spots for the common crane.

Wooded meadows

The wooded meadow of Laelatu is the only preserved wooded meadow that is being maintained in the reserve. Many protected plant species grow there, but also 2/3 of all the natural orchid species found in Estonia, the beautiful lady’s-slipper orchid, narrow-leaved helleborine and red helleborine can be found on the meadow, for example.

The wooded meadow of Laelatu is currently maintained by mowing and every year with the help of cattle herding on an area of 10–15 ha, the area of the wooded meadow being restored is about 40 ha in total. There is a positive connection between the size and biodiversity of the wooded meadow.

The forest park of the islet of Puhtulaid

The peninsula of Puhtulaid (islet of Puhtulaid idiomatically) is geologically a young area that rose from the sea about 2,000 years ago. The hills in the centre of the peninsula are currently about 5 m above the sea level. The islet of Puhtu was first mentioned in the 15th century. In 1952, a stone dam that decreased the water flow was built from the islet to the mainland, consequently turning the islet into a peninsula.

Two very ancient trees can be found in the forest park of Puhtulaid. The Puhtu oak tree with a circumference of 4.8 metres and an age of about 400 years is one of the grandest oak trees in the southern parts of Lääne County. But the Puhtu pine tree is 430 years old and with a circumference of 3.74 metres belongs to the top ten of the thickest pine trees in Estonia.

In the springtime, when anemones are in bloom, the forest floor is covered with the broad green leaves of the wild garlic that greets people with an intense smell in spring and early summer. At the end of May and beginning of June, the forest floor is white from the blossoms of the wild garlic. Puhtu forest is the most beautiful during spring when liverleaves, anemones and lilies of the valley are in bloom.

Many orchids grow on the meadows surrounding the forest, the most famous of them is the endangered narrow-leaved marsh orchid that can be found, besides Puhtu, in only a few places in Germany and Poland.

Starting late spring, bluish-green succulent leaf shrubs, carrying white blossoms during midsummer, are constantly growing on the seashore – that is sea-kale. The flavour of the kale is a bit bitter, but the plant is still edible. Sea-kale abundantly contains the necessary vitamin B1, in addition, it is a good honey plant. A thick and strong taproot that penetrates deep into the ground, until the salty water, is inherent to the sea-kale. The plant mostly grows in Western Estonia and on the islands.

From the animals, the European roe deer, fox and raccoon dog can be seen on the peninsula of Puhtu. From reptiles, the grass snake is represented most numerously in the reserve.