Environment & Wildlife

The Source to New Cumnock & Kirkconnel

Glen Afton East Ayrshire Woodlands Project

Broadleaf woodlands offer immense value to Scotland’s natural heritage and biodiversity. Some exciting work has been going on near New Cumnock which has already managed to bring ash, silver birch, hawthorn and hazel back along our riverbanks.

Glen Afton Wood is part of the East Ayrshire Woodlands Project that was created in 1997 as a partnership initiative, supporting communities and landowners to expand and enhance native and amenity woodlands in Ayrshire

The Ayrshire Woodlands project manages and interacts with sites all over the South West of Scotland and offers a wide range of education, learning and Forest School programmes and they have a wide range of information on wildlife and how to access woodland spots on their website.

East Ayrshire Nature Network

The Nature Network project aims to enhance and interpret the natural heritage of the coalfields area at a landscape scale, to deliver biodiversity benefits and support local regeneration.

The project has produced detailed maps focused on the area where the River Afton joins the River Nith and local wildlife spots like Knockinnock Lagoon are included in the New Cumnock Access Nature Routes booklet.

East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative

New Cumnock Access Network Routes

Industry and the environment have had a complicated history to say the least. It is not uncommon to see the scars of historic industries strewn across the landscape of Britain. Despite this, community groups across the country have stepped in to renew these spaces and support local people in the hope of building a better world out of what is left behind.

The East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI) is an excellent example of this. It is a successful partnership between the local authority and conservation bodies that has worked with the community over the last 12 years to enhance, conserve, and promote the environment in East Ayrshire.

Eco LIFE project

This four-year LIFE-funded partnership project aims to improve and connect habitats across Scotland, including New Cumnock’s Coal Fields. This project focuses on the positive effects of peat bog conservation and the biodiverse environments that they benefit. The project ranges from creating new wetlands, reed bed management and ditch blocking on raised bogs to tree planting and retrofitting green roofs in agricultural and industrial areas. The CEI have delivered 609 hectares of bog restoration work across seven sites since 2013.

Sanquhar to Drumlanrig Castle

Environmental Arts Festival at Morton Castle

The Environmental Arts Festival Scotland (EAFS) began in 2015 and ran over three years within the beautiful grounds of Morton Castle. EAFS’ producers created a temporary community on site which modelled a positive ethos and relaxed environment conducive to the sharing of ideas and thoughtful discussion. Festival organisers worked closely with a team of local young people who were passionate about the idea of being able to raise people’s awareness of climate change and find new ways of living.

Spilt Road – Carronbridge to the Dalveen Pass

Carronbridge is a small Hamlet located on the confluence of the Carron Water and the River Nith. This is a prominent location geographically speaking as the A76 also splits here and merges into the A702. The A702 takes you through the Dalveen pass which is a well known route for tourists and bikers and into the area of the Lead Hills famous for the historic gold panning industry. The village also plays host to one of the region’s main timber exporters, founded in 1910.

Drumlanrig Castle Grounds

Drumlanrig Castle’s estates spread over 90,000 acres of gardens, forests, lochs, hills, heather and moor. The estate’s outdoor activities includes extensive hiking, cycling and mountain biking routes as well as an adventure playground for the wee ones. Due to its size and variety of environments, it plays host to a wide diversity of local and often threatened wildlife such as red squirrels, barn owls, gold crests, buzzards, kingfishers and is a hotspot for native trees.

Heritage Walks Near Sanquhar

The hills around Sanquhar boast a variety of impressive walks. Two in particular provide a great mixture of walking, beautiful natural environments and heritage:  Muirkirk to Wanlockhead Drove Road and Sanquhar to Stroanpatrick Path.

Thornhill to Moniaive

Crichope Linn

Crichope Linn is an impressive sandstone gorge near the hamlet of Gatelawbridge, 8 miles from Thornhill. The gorge was long believed to harbour supernatural beings in local folklore and was a place where elves and other creatures would congregate. In the 17th century, the Covenanters used Crichope Linn as a hiding place. It was a popular attraction during the Victorian period and a natural archway on the footpath along the side of the gorge still bears many 18th and 19th century inscriptions, supposedly including one by Robert Burns.

Further Reading:

A walk to Crichope Linn in Dumfries and Galloway | Kirkennan Estate Blog – Crichope Linn

The BFG ( Big Friendly Group)

The Big Friendly Group is held at the Thornhill Baptist Church and has a huge helping hand in community and environmental upkeep. They hold weekly sessions for school aged children to play, learn and make crafts. They also have regular environmental activities such as litter picking, garden clearing and planting.

Further Reading:

BFG (Big Friendly Group)

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