Nature Heroes - Clyde Valley Waders

Wader birds such as lapwing, curlew and oystercatcher have suffered big declines in numbers for decades. The Clyde Valley has been the site of important wader conservation work since 2008, where the Clyde Valley Wader Initiative developed strong links between more than 50 farmers, gamekeepers, conservationists and land managers.

Now around 20 farmers have formed the Clyde Valley Wader Group, where they have focused on the lapwing, also known as peewits. From 2018  to 2022, the RSPB followed 450 nests in the valley and found a tiny 20% hatched. But a ray of hope emerged - a small number of nests did well in brassica fields. So, determined to save the birds, farmers took matters into their own hands and grew brassica crops, the results were a staggering 80% hatching success.

All the partners are repeating the trials this year with a new optimism – and the farmers already have their brassica crops in the ground.

Clyde Valley Waders tiles
Clyde Valley Waders - Project Highlights
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A series of 6 graphical tiles.

  • In Scotland since 1995, lapwing numbers have fallen by 62%, curlew 60%, oystercatcher by 36%. Redshank 49% since 2001 in the UK.
  • There are around 635,000 wintering lapwings every year in the UK
  • RSPB  monitored450 nests over  four years, aiding understanding of the challenges waders face
  • The UK hosts around 25% of the global population of curlew
  • 50 farms across the Clyde Valley have been involved
  • Field trials saw 80% hatching success, compared to the typical 20% 

The Clyde Valley Wader Group trials were supported by RSPB Scotland, SAC Consulting, NatureScot, Working for Waders. The wider Clyde Valley Wader Initiative has been supported by SRUC, the British Trust for Ornithology Scotland, GWCT Scotland, the Soil Association Scotland, Rural Innovation Support Service, the Scottish Government’s Agri Environment Climate Scheme and NatureScot’s Biodiversity Challenge Fund.

Bird standing in field


Find out more

Scotland's Agri-Environment and Climate Scheme - Summary

Scotland's Biodiversity Strategy and the Consultation



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