The landscapes of the Moray Firth are diverse, shaped by the effects of geology, glaciation, marine erosion and human activity. The coastline ranges from high cliffs to sheltered inner firths, mudflats, saltmarshes and beaches. The hinterland comprises a patchwork of mountains, moorland, fields, forests, rivers, lochs and settlements. It provides some of the most fertile and accessible land in the north of Scotland, and has attracted human activity for over 8000 years, giving it it's character of a green and fertile land, a patchwork of fields and settlements, set within the backdrop of the rugged mountains of the Highlands and Grampians. Because of its extensive marine area, the views are expansive and constantly re-shaped by the sky and the weather. The Dornoch Firth is a National Scenic Area (NSA), while many features around the coast are recognised as significant.