The Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve is ten years old this year and one of only 41 National Nature Reserves (NNRs) in Scotland. It is also the only composite NNR as it consists of six individual woodlands; each one occupying its own dramatic river gorge. National Nature Reserves are some of the ecologically richest areas in Scotland and are designated by the government NGO, Scottish Natural Heritage. We are in a list that also includes places like St Kilda, Loch Lomond and the Isle of May.
The woodlands follow the route of the river from the Falls of Clyde through to Chatelherault Country Park. The other woodlands along the way are Cleghorn Glen, Cartland Crags, Lower Nethan Gorge and Maudslie Woods. These woodlands are jointly managed Scottish Wildlife Trust, South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Natural Heritage.
The woodlands are hidden in dramatic river gorges, carved by the waters of the Clyde, the Avon, the Mouse and the Nethan. Here, wildlife thrives in these ribbons of ‘wild land’ that lace the Lanarkshire landscape. These valleys are too steep to farm or build on and so the soil has remained undisturbed for centuries, resulting in some of Scotland’s most biodiverse habitats. The rich soils give life to the towering oaks that reach across these gorges.
If you haven’t been to some of the smaller woodlands that make up the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve then now is a great time to visit. The leaves on the trees are beginning to turn their beautiful oranges, yellows and reds. It’s a veritable feast for the eyes! To find out more about each of these woodlands and other National Nature Reserve visit Scotland’s National Nature Reserves website. There are leaflets to download with details of the different trails available and information about each of the sites.
Laura Preston, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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