Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR - About the reserve

Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR protects a wealth of upland habitats – from heather moor to blanket bog.




Managing habitats and inspiring people

Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR offers a true taste of the Scottish uplands. Sitting above Wigtown Bay, it includes one of the most southerly of the Galloway Hills – from which the reserve takes its name. At its heart is one of the most remote parts of south-west Scotland.

With a mosaic of upland habitats, it is one of the few places in this area with open hill ground. The reserve mixture of wind-clipped summit heath, heather moorland and blanket bog supports a wide range of wildlife.
The reserve is a core area within the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve. We work with the biosphere partnership to help achieve its aims.

Habitat priorities

Our priorities for habitat management are to enhance the habitats and improve biodiversity. We also want to make the reserve more robust to the challenges of climate change.

Our work includes restoring the peatland areas by raising the water table and stabilising areas where peat and heath have eroded. We use livestock to manage the heath and grassland vegetation. We also keep wild herbivore numbers under control.

Engaging people with nature

We want visiting the reserve to be a memorable experience for everyone. Our visitor centre and other facilities help us to achieve that. The centre tells the story of the reserve – intertwined with messages about climate change. We manage paths in the lower areas and the path to the main summit. These connect with routes provided by neighbouring landowners.

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 Cairnsmore of Fleet 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

Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR overlaps with one protected area:

Find out more about this protected area and its designated features by searching the map:

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Learn more about Scotland’s National Nature Reserves.

Discover how protected areas safeguard our natural heritage.

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