From hazy, upland moors, through mossy, wooded glens to sweeping sands, saltmarsh and sand dunes, the Garnock Valley Futurescape has a wealth of important natural habitats, all rich in wildlife.
To the north, wetlands around Lochwinnoch are home to an abundance of insects, birds, plants and other wildlife, while hen harriers inhabit the Muirshiel Hills above.
Winding south, the River Garnock supports salmon, otters and water voles. At Irvine’s Bogside Flats, the estuary and saltmarsh are nationally important feeding grounds for many wintering and migratory birds.
This is also a landscape shaped by people, with rich industrial history and fertile farmlands. It is dotted with communities, from small villages to bustling towns, where managed and urban environments such as farmland, parks, golf courses and gardens have potential as important homes for nature.
We are now working with partners, landowners and local people to protect and enhance this landscape. Together we’re building better homes for nature in the valley and a more sustainable future for local communities.
Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The key RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are:
One of the few wetlands left in west Scotland, Lochwinnoch is an ideal day out for all the family. It's the perfect spot to watch whooper swans, wigeons and a wide variety of ducks during the winter months. In spring, you won't want to miss the elaborate displays of the great crested grebes.
Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in the Garnock Valley. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:
Saving special places
Victory for Harapan Rainforest
Beautiful Hutan Harapan forest is a precious remnant of the rainforest that once covered much of Sumatra (Photo: RSPB-images/Steve Roland) Hutan Harapan is one of the last remaining areas of dry lowland Sumatran forest and is among the most th...(r...Posted 12/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
Rila Mountains: The Final Piece in Bulgaria's Protected Area Network for Birds
Daniel Pullan, our International Casework Manager writes: I was thrilled last week when my Bulgarian colleague Irina Mateeva told me that the Bulgarian Government had designated the last part of the Rila Mountains as a Special Protection Area. This a...Posted 04/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
A net gain for nature
How can built development leave the natural environment in a better shape than it was before? This is the question at the heart of Defra’s recent consultation on ‘biodiversity net gain’. We know from the State of Nature 2016 report ...(read more)Posted 01/03/2019 by Simon Marsh
What will the new NPPF mean for places, people and nature?
On Tuesday the Government published a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England. You can see our previous commentary on the draft version here , here and here . The NPPF sets out the Government’s planning policies for England...(read ...Posted 27/07/2018 by Steph