Managing mud and merse
Forces of nature
Although Caerlaverock is one of the larger Scottish NNRs, there is little opportunity or need for any physical management over large parts of the Reserve, where the forces that shape and shift the mudflats are beyond our control. Here we need to ensure that human activities are compatible with the Reserve objectives, partly through bylaws, but more so by developing good relations with Reserve users. On the merse, grazing management is vital for geese and toads, and the special species needs special measures to enhance their habitat.
We are keen to welcome visitors onto the Reserve to see the wildlife that makes Caerlaverock special. It's not easy. At low midday tides, the shore can look empty, with waders feeding far out on the mudflats, and geese dispersed onto the merse and surrounding fields to graze. The rest of the Reserve is wetland where access is tricky. We want to provide more for the 30,000 visitors who venture onto the Reserve each year, so we have developed a path from Castle Corner car park to a 500m all-abilities boardwalk, which leads across wetland to a viewpoint overlooking the Reserve. Another all-ability trail meanders from the car park through the historic Castle Wood, from which a rougher, grass-surfaced path continues to the merse.
We are delighted that our neighbours, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, can add to the visitor experience at their Wetland Centre at Eastpark Farm , offering close views of geese and waders, a visitor centre, and a tower hide with sweeping views over the NNR. Their fields provide grazing for the geese, and their ponds attract other wildfowl and waders. We want to work with them to develop closer link between the Centre and the NNR.
Last updated on Monday 25th November 2013 at 09:42 AM. Click here to comment on this page