Site of the Month: Kirkconnell Flow (July 2022)

Kirkconnell Flow, near New Abbey, is a raised bog owned and managed as a nature reserve by NatureScot. It consists of a large expanse of peat with pine and birch woodland around the edges.

On the peat dome the plant communities are dominated by carpets of Sphagnum mosses with Hare’s-tail Cotton Grass Eriophorum vaginatum and other characteristic bog plants such as Cranberry Vaccinium oxycoccos and Bog Rosemary Andromeda polifolia. Dragonflies are frequent, including a rare Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope in 2019. Adders Vipera berus bask in sunny locations, and after dark the strange churring of Nightjars Caprimulgus europaeus can be heard as they take to the wing to hunt insects. Large Heath Coenonympha tullia butterflies have not been recorded in the last two years – it would be good to confirm their continued presence.

The fringing wood also supports a diverse range of wildlife, including notable species. In 2003, the entire UK population of Six-spotted Pot Beetle Cryptocephalus sexpunctatus was thought to be confined to Kirkconnell Flow and two sites in England. It has since been discovered at a few more locations, but remains very rare. Similarly, the Bilberry Pug Pasiphila debiliata moth is currently known only from Kirkconnell Flow and one other site in Scotland. Crossbills Loxia curvirostra are regularly seen in the pines.

There is a small car park, footpaths through the wood, and a boardwalk along the edge of the bog, but the main body of the peatland is not accessible owing to the re-wetting of the site following extensive restoration work.

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

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