Plans for Dumfries and Galloway countryside transformation

Conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland has revealed an ambitious 100-year plan to transform 81 hectares of Dumfries and Galloway countryside into rich natural habitats once again.  The Threave Landscape Restoration Project will transform land at Kelton Mains, part of the charity’s Threave Estate in Dumfries and Galloway, through a century-spanning plan to restore native wetlands and woodlands in the area.

Amongst the first steps is ‘undraining’ the land, allowing the River Dee and its floodplain to revert to more natural flow patterns and enabling the wetlands, for which the area is so well-known to re-establish, and expanding the habitats available for a wide range of native and migrant waterfowl, and many other species too.

Native woodland species

Another key focus for 2021 is reintroducing native woodland species, with the ultimate ambition to create a 30-hectare native woodland on the site, through planting and woodland regeneration methods. We will also be exploring how livestock can be managed in new ways to balance agricultural production with nature recovery.

Dr Sam Gallacher, Dumfries and Galloway Operations Manager for the National Trust for Scotland said: “We’ve been building up research on how we do this at Threave since 2017, working with experts in woodlands, grasslands and wetlands. Studying holistically the whole site, we have put together both an immediate and long-term plan to help kickstart and support natural processes, but also use this site as a massive experiment to help us find best practice and methods that we hope will be useful and inspire others in similar settings whether in Scotland or further afield. It will be an exciting experience for our visitors and members to learn and engage with landscape restoration in action and showcase the work our charity does to protect Scotland’s natural heritage.”

The path network around the site will also be improved, giving better visitor access. Public outreach to visitors and community to discuss further the project and its long-term benefits is now underway.

Regular updates on the progress of the project will be posted online at www.nts.org.uk.

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