Caerlaverock NNR - About the reserve

Caerlaverock NNR is an important habitat for many resident and visiting wildfowl species.




Managing habitats and inspiring people

Caerlaverock NNR stretches for 16 kilometres along the north coast of the Solway Firth in Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland.

There are few places like this in Scotland. It is a dramatic landscape of mudflats, sandbanks and flower-speckled saltmarsh – or merse. These areas are a haven for wildlife. Thousands of waders and wildfowl winter here, including the entire Svalbard barnacle goose population.

The freshwater pools of the merse also provide an ideal habitat for the very rare tadpole shrimp. This species is found in only in two locations in the UK.

Habitat priorities

Our priority at Caerlaverock is to adopt the most appropriate management to maintain habitats in favourable condition. Our aim is to provide suitable places for the wintering and breeding birds that depend on the reserve. We do that by working with our neighbours and local land managers.

The intertidal areas of mudflats and sandbanks are left to nature. We do some management within the merse. Grazing cattle helps to keep the grass at the right height for breeding and wintering birds. We also manage the wetlands in the Flooders area. The aim is to keep a mixture of wetland habitats suitable for the many bird and invertebrate species found here.

Engaging people with nature

We aim to offer visitors easy access to explore and enjoy first-hand experience of this amazing place. We manage two access points and from these a series of paths along the shoreline. We also provide a viewing platform and hide for visitors to get closer views of the wildlife.

We work in partnership with our neighbours at the Caerlaverock Wetland Centre to create a memorable visitor experience.

Management planning

We plan our management carefully to make sure that the special qualities of the reserve thrive. In this way it will always give visitors an enjoyable experience and engage people with nature.

We produce 10-year management plans for our reserves. Find out more about how we manage Caerlaverock NNR:

• The Management Plan – sets out our priorities and tasks for managing the reserve between 2016 and 2026.
• The Reserve Story – an introduction to the natural heritage, historical interest, past management and designations which protect the reserve.

Protected areas

Caerlaverock NNR overlaps with a number of protected areas, including:

• Solway Firth Special Area of Conservation
• Upper Solway Flats and Marshes Special Protection Area
• Upper Solway Flats and Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest
• Upper Solway Flat and Marshes Ramsar Site
• Nith Estuary National Scenic Area

Find out more about these protected areas and their designated features by searching the map.

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