Our work here
18 November 2011
The RSPB Lochwinnoch nature reserve is part of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park. It forms part of the one of the largest wetlands in south-west Scotland, and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The reserve includes two shallow lochs (Barr Loch and Aird Meadow Loch), together with their surrounding water meadows, marshes and woodlands.
The RSPB manages all these habitats for the benefit of their wildlife and the local community.
Wetlands and woodlands
The reserve has a rich wetland biodiversity. Plants include uncommon species such as tufted loosestrife, creeping yellow cress and butterfly orchids. Birds include breeding water rails, grasshopper warblers and reed buntings, and wintering whooper swans.
We are working to enhance the wetland habitat for all these species, and also to manage the surrounding woodlands for conservation and visitor interest.
Lochwinnoch is well situated for visitors, lying close to the major population centre of greater Glasgow, and with easy access by public transport and the National Cycle Network.
We aim to increase visitor numbers to 40,000 by maintaining and improving our facilities. These currently include a shop, a ground viewing area and an observation tower, with trails, picnic tables, a wildlife garden and a pond-dipping area outside.
The reserve is also a Living Classroom providing outdoor learning for schools. We aim to develop this further and to get more local people involved.
Over the next few years, we're planning an ambitious habitat redevelopment to make Lochwinnoch reserve a better place for both wildlife and people. This £450,000 project has successfully attracted £241,000 from Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd (WREN), and has received planning consent from the local council.
The proposed project will restore much of the reserve's wetland system to how it would have been over 100 years ago, before agricultural pressures led to dramatic changes in this landscape. Part of the work will re-naturalise the channels, so that they flow into Barr Loch and create valuable wetland habitat.
A large new channel will be cut across the Aird Meadow, in front of our visitor centre. By bringing the water closer, it will also allow visitors fantastic views of the wildlife, even without binoculars, whilst producing an extensive new feeding area for a wide range of birds.
An exciting time lies ahead for Lochwinnoch, and we anticipate that works will begin in late 2011. The project will combine with future plans for a new, improved visitor centre at Lochwinnoch reserve, ultimately creating a wildlife attraction of which Scotland can be proud.
Please contact us if you would like to find out more about the project, or pop into the visitor centre and chat to our staff.
We want to hear what you think
Nature never stands still at Lochwinnoch, and neither do we. We've got lots of ideas for the future, everything from significant habitat work on the reserve - bringing wildlife closer to people - to building a brand new state-of-the-art visitor centre.
But before we make a start, we need to find out a bit more about our audience. That's you!
A company called Progressive will be carrying out some research on all the different people who come to the reserve, finding out how they think it could be improved, and what we could be doing to make your time with us even better.
You might see them in the reserve visitor centre carrying out questionnaires, or they might stop you in the street if you live in the local area. You might even be asked to attend a focus group.
If you do see them, please have a chat and tell them your opinions, as we want as many people as possible to take part. If you have any questions at all, please contact the reserve.
How you can help
Join the RSPB and support our work.
For more information