Site of the Month: Threave (April 2023)

Threave Estate was donated by Major Alan Gordon to the National Trust for Scotland in 1948. Just two years earlier, Sir Peter Scott, a friend of the Gordon family and occasional visitor to Threave, had established the Wildfowl Trust at Slimbridge. No doubt inspired by this, one of Major Gordon’s wishes was that Threave should be managed as a wildfowl refuge, making it possibly the longest established nature reserve in SW Scotland, though that term has only been applied to it much more recently.

The wetlands bordering the River Dee support large numbers of wintering Wigeon Anas penelope and Teal Anas crecca with smaller numbers of other species such as Pintail Anas acuta and Shoveler Anas clypeata The Ospreys Pandion haliaetus, which nest close to Threave Castle, have already been sighted in 2023. The wetlands include scarce plants such as Cowbane Cicuta virosa and Great Water Dock Rumex hydrolapathum, and are part of the Loch Ken and River Dee Marshes Special Protection Area and RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance.

The most recent chapter in Threave’s history is the landscape approach taken to ecological restoration over the site during the last five years, supported by Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership. This is just the start of a 100-year project, which has so far included breaching the flood banks, creation of the wildlife scrapes, conservation grazing and new access routes.

Attendees to our Wildlife Recorders’ Gathering will have the opportunity to join a guided walk around the site later this month.

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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