Site of the Month: Tarras Valley Nature Reserve (April 2022)

The first site in our new series of guides, describing where to watch and record wildlife in SW Scotland, is Tarras Valley Nature Reserve. As one of our newest nature reserves, located in an area not regularly frequented by wildlife recorders, it is understandable that there are currently few records for the site. But the moorland and valleys to the east of Langholm have long been known for their bird populations, being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1985 and a Special Protection Area (SPA) in 2001, specifically for their Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus populations. We feel sure that lots of other species are waiting to be discovered.

The reserve consists of  5,200 acres of of upland moor, ancient woodland, meadows and peatlands, and fundraising to double the size of the reserve to 10,500 acres is aiming to raise £2.2m by 31 May this year. Breeding birds include Dipper Cinclus cinclus and Pied Flycatcher Motacilla alba. Other wildlife is less well-known, but butterflies include Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria selene, whilst moth surveys in the past have identified the spectacular Emperor Saturnia pavonia and Northern Eggar Lasiocampa quercus callunae. Recent camera trapping has captured footage of Otter Lutra lutra on the Tarras Water, and Tree Lungwort Lobaria pulmonaria lichen has been discovered in the woods.

We have set up a specific activity for the reserve on iRecord where you can add your records, or you can send them to us or reserve staff through any of the usual channels.

Peter Norman

SWSEIC Project Officer

Website by Red Paint

SUP is registered in Scotland as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Registered address: The Southern Uplands Partnership, Studio 2, Lindean Mill, Galashiels, TD1 3PE. Company No. SC200827 / Charity No. SCO29475

Back to top