The uplands in Ayrshire are home to many iconic Scottish species such as Black Grouse Lyrurus tetrix, Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus and Water Vole Arvicola amphibius. The uplands have been shaped for hundreds of years by human activities, such as moorland management for grouse shooting, forestry and hill farming.

Upland heaths lie in the zone above the upper edge of agricultural land (300-400m), but below the montane zone around 600m. It is characterised by dwarf shrubs on nutrient poor acidic shallow peat soils. Upland heath is usually found in areas with more than 100 cm of precipitation a year. Ayrshire has some of the best large areas of open moorland found in southern Scotland, particularly in the Muirkirk Uplands, Glen App hills and Clyde Muirshiel. Unlike other areas in Scotland, former grouse moor estates in Ayrshire have not been converted to forestry, and heather has been retained through managed grazing regimes. Upland heath is a habitat of high importance to a range of taxonomic groups, including birds, invertebrates, reptile and amphibians and flowering plants.

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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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