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
G7 Commentary - Nature compact success or failure?
For the first time the G7 has made a nature-positive commitment to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030. This is unprecedented. Never before we have seen nature prioritised in a way that recognises the importance of a healthy natural wor...Posted 14/06/2021 by Vanessa Amaral-Rogers
A big step for international whale conservation - sei whale Key Biodiversity Area in Falklands
By Michelle Winnard, Communications Officer, Falklands Conservation Sei whale by Caroline Weir, Falklands Conservation In a big step for international whale conservation, the Falkland Islands have been confirmed as a hotspot for a globally end...(re...Posted 12/05/2021 by Heather Mitchell
Rejecting aluminium from Ghana's Forests
As Ghana weighs economic benefits of mining bauxite for aluminum, multi-billion-dollar global companies support community groups calling for protection of critical forest. Natalie Hall, RSPB Senior Advisor for International Site Policy explains. Atew...Posted 03/02/2021 by Vanessa Amaral-Rogers
Taking ‘Favourable Conservation Status’ out of the ‘too difficult’ box
Favourable Conservation Status (FCS) is a concept enshrined in international, European and national nature protection laws. Head of Sites Conservation Policy, Kate Jennings explains the idea of identifying what good looks like for habitats and s...(r...Posted 13/02/2020 by Vanessa Amaral-Rogers