Carrifran Wildwood

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Carrifran Wildwood – an inspirational story of Landscape Restoration


This is the story, so far, of how what was described in winter 1998 as ‘a brown desert’ has changed. In 2020 it is well on the way to becoming a green jewel in the Moffat Hills. A local group, Peeblesshire Environment Concern, run by Dr Philip Ashmole, his wife Myrtle, Ann Goodburn and Fi Martynoga, organised a conference Restoring Borders Woodland in 1993. Philip had wondered ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful for a grass-roots group to get hold of a whole valley, from river to mountain top, so that we could put back the vegetation that might have existed before man made an impact on the landscape?’. As a result of that conference the group explored both sources of funding and a valley to be reforested. After several false starts a way forward was found, and a successful bid was made for lottery support and the Borders Forest Trust came into being in 1996 LinkExternal link. Eventually money was raised and the Carrifran Valley [variably Carr-ifran or Carri-fran], in Dumfries and Galloway, was found, with an option to purchase if £400000 could be obtained by the end of 1999. It was, and the Wildwood project, now a discrete entity within the BFT, could begin.

This article illustrates the development of the Wildwood project from Geograph pictures There are very few from before the beginning in 2000, quite a lot between 2001-2010, few between 2011-2015, and more between 2016 to 2020, the latter especially due to coverage by Jim Barton. I have tried to arrange them in some sort of logical order, by time and place. Hopefully more will be added as time progresses and the trees grow up.

The Carrifran Burn drains a valley, about 5 x 2 km [650 ha], that runs south from the Tweeddale–Annandale watershed to the Moffat Water, just after passing under the Selkirk-Moffat road [A708]. The valley features in 15 km squares, eight of them extensively. The valley is shown below [Google Earth, 2009]



The Wildwood area is outlined approximately in blue; it goes from 165 m a.s.l. to 820 m a.s.l., and encompasses several different habitats:- Alpine and subalpine heath, dry heath, blanket bog, acid montane grassland, tall-herb communities, acid scree, plants in acid rock crevices and plants in basic rock crevices. For an 'official story' see LinkExternal link

The ‘empty’ valley in 1989
NT1413 : The uppermost part of the valley of Carrifran Burn as seen from Saddle Yoke by Colin Park
This empty valley appeared tree less when this photograph was taken in 1989 but I note now that the Ordnance Survey now show much of it wooded.
by Colin Park

In 1991, lower down the valley was similar, with rough grazing Compare this view with one taken in the same area in 2015
NT1611 : Access to Carrifran Wildwood by Leslie Barrie
Project started in 2000 to recreate an ancient woodland.
by Leslie Barrie


It was decided by the group that the aim of the restoration should be to restore the landscape to what it might have been at some time in the past, before man’s influence. An ancient longbow of Yew wood was found in peat at Rotten Bottom in 1990; radio carbon dating established that it was between 5600-6000 years old LinkExternal link. Pollen analysis established that then there was a mature and biodiverse ecosystem in the Southern Uplands. It was, therefore, thought appropriate to aim to restore the Carrifran valley ecosystem to what it might have been at the time of the bowman.

The area in which the ancient bow was found
NT1414 : Rotten Bottom, site of an archaeological find by Jim Barton
This unprepossessing stretch of upland peat bog was, in 1990, the site of a chance find of the remains of the oldest longbow found in Britain. The yew wood was carbon dated at between 4040 and 3640 BC, i.e. at least 5650 years. See 'The Carrifran Wildwood Story' by Myrtle and Philip Ashmole (Borders Forest Trust, Jedburgh 2009) and LinkExternal link
by Jim Barton

NT1414 : Springtime, Rotten Bottom by Eileen Henderson
View north-east over the peat bogs of Rotten Bottom to the peaks of Firthhope Rig (left) and White Coomb (right). The peat here preserved a Neolithic yew bow which was found by a hill-walker in 1990. The bow dates from around 4000 BC and is the oldest found in Britain.
by Eileen Henderson


The main biological problems to be addressed were Roe Deer, Sheep, 40 feral Goats and Bracken. It was decided that a deer fence was not a realistic option, although the whole area was fenced at the start. The other option was culling [shooting] by a professional stalker, and over the last 18 years an average of 25 deer a year have been culled. Deer culling is still a major cost, and the group is looking forward to the time when they will be culled by Lynx, a natural predator. From 2000-2005 the Goats and Sheep were removed. Although there was only 80 ha of Bracken its removal was problematic; it grew rapidly in the absence of grazing and young trees could quickly become smothered, and both physical and chemical control proved to be difficult.

The next few images show the fencing required – in all 11km, with 12 access points around the periphery, so quite an undertaking.
NT1511 : On Peat Hill by Iain Russell
A long stretch of the fence was supposedly electrified.
by Iain Russell

NT1513 : Stile and gate, Carrifran boundary fence by Jim Barton
One of several crossing points in the fence enclosing the boundary of the Wildwood area.
by Jim Barton

NT1513 : Carrifran Gans summit and boundary fence by Jim Barton
‘Gans’ is an unusual hill name, and there doesn’t seem to be complete agreement on its meaning. In ‘The Carrifran Wildwood Story’ by Myrtle and Philip Ashmole (Borders Forest Trust, Jedburgh 2009), it is given as a version of ‘gangs’ or sheepwalk. Peter Drummond in ‘Scottish Hill and Mountain Names’ (SMT 1991) favours the meaning as ‘jaws’, though my Concise Scots Dictionary gives ‘gam’ as meaning jaws in Scots.
by Jim Barton

NT1415 : Dyke on Firthhope Rig by Eileen Henderson
The old boundary dyke, which can be seen at the top right of the photo continuing its way to the top of Firthhope Rig, has seen better days and has been replaced by a wire fence.
by Eileen Henderson

NT1513 : Carrifran Gans, cairn by Callum Black
Summit cairn sitting, not unusually for the southern uplands, by a fence.
Hart Fell beyond.
by Callum Black


In the first seven years around 40ha [about 60000 trees] were planted each year; in total, since 2000, 650000 native trees and shrubs have been planted at Carrifran – a truly monumental effort by volunteers and professionals alike.

GENERAL VALLEY VIEWS

The head of the valley in 1989
NT1413 : The uppermost part of the valley of Carrifran Burn as seen from Saddle Yoke by Colin Park
This empty valley appeared tree less when this photograph was taken in 1989 but I note now that the Ordnance Survey now show much of it wooded.
by Colin Park

in 2011
NT1514 : The head of Carrifran glen by Jim Barton
Raven Craig is to the left with Firthhope Burn descending by Gupe Craig to the right. The skyline is the high ridge from Firthhope Rig to White Coomb. The viewpoint is Saddle Yoke.
by Jim Barton

and in 2017
NT1512 : A whole glen replanted at Carrifran by Jim Barton
From Bodesbeck Law summit there's a fine view right across to the Carrifran glen, which since 2000 has been carefully replanted with native trees suited to the microclimate. See LinkExternal link for more on the Carrifran Wildwood project.
by Jim Barton


THE VALLEY

In 2009 young trees were readily visible in the valley
NT1511 : Carrifran Glen by M J Richardson
The new plantings of this project of landscape restoration are becoming apparent from a distance. This is the Carrifran Wildwood, a project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

NT1512 : Landscape restoration in Carrifran Glen by M J Richardson
A project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

and by 2013 on the west ridge of Carrifran Gans they were well established
NT1611 : Carrifran by Richard Webb
The rewooded Carrifran glen looks rather different from my last visit now that the trees are established.

Your knees will never forgive a descent of the steep Carrifran Gans ridge in the background.
by Richard Webb


In 2020 the ‘The Survivor’ Rowan was Scotland’s ‘Tree of the Year’ in the annual competition organised by The Woodland Trust LinkExternal link
NT1512 : An original tree, Carrifran by Jim Barton
This lone tree has been joined by thousands more on the hillsides each side, following the Carrifran Wildwood planting programme begun in 2000.
by Jim Barton

It was also featured in BBC Scotland's 'Landward' TV programme, episode 20 [October 2020] LinkExternal link

The lower valley, ca 170-250m [1991-2016]

1991 2006
NT1611 : Information boards in Carrifran Valley by Eileen Henderson
This valley is the subject of a major tree-planting operation carried out by the Borders Forest Trust, a charitable trust which aims to restore the native woodland.
by Eileen Henderson

NT1511 : Bridge over Carrifran Burn by Eileen Henderson
This bridge carries the A708 over the Carrifran Burn at the foot of Peat Hill
by Eileen Henderson

NT1612 : The slopes of Carrifran Gans by Eileen Henderson
The sheep stell (bottom left of the photo) contains information boards erected by the Borders Forest Trust, a charity which is recreating in this valley the type of woodland which existed here 6000 years ago.
by Eileen Henderson

2008
NT1512 : The Wildwood Programme by Iain Lees
The mass replanting of native trees in Carrifran.
by Iain Lees

2009
NT1512 : Landscape restoration in Carrifran Glen by M J Richardson
A project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

NT1512 : Carrifran Glen Wildwood by M J Richardson
A project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link. These earliest plantings, from 2000-2001, are mostly birch, rowan and alder, and seem to be doing well.
by M J Richardson

NT1512 : Birch and holly in Carrifran Glen by M J Richardson
A project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link. Looking west across the burn to the side of Peat Hill - although not apparent, this is also planted with trees.
by M J Richardson

NT1512 : New plantings in Carrifran Glen by M J Richardson
A project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link. The skyline is Priest Craig to the left and Raven Craig to the right
by M J Richardson

NT1612 : Carrifran Gans by M J Richardson
The eastern side of Carrifran Glen, a project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

NT1612 : Carrifran Wildwood by M J Richardson
Before and after - on the horizon a conifer plantation, and in the foreground new plantings of the Carrifran Wildwood project, a project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link and NT1511 : Information board at the Carrifran Wildwood carpark.
by M J Richardson

NT1511 : Carrifran Glen by M J Richardson
The new plantings of this project of landscape restoration are becoming apparent from a distance. This is the Carrifran Wildwood, a project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

NT1611 : The lower slopes of Carrifran Gans by M J Richardson
Part of the land included in the Carrifran Wildwood project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

NT1512 : Carrifran Glen by M J Richardson
A view of the glen from the viewpoint, which is in an old sheep stell, showing the progress in the reafforestation project which commenced in 2000 - for more information see NT1611 : The lower slopes of Carrifran Gans and LinkExternal link. NT1512 : Carrifran glen shows a view from the same spot in 2006 - quite a change in 7 years.
by M J Richardson

2010
NT1612 : A steep descent by Jim Barton
The boundary fence on the S ridge of Carrifran Gans. The wooden blocks strung out along the top two wires make it more visible to low-flying birds such as grouse. See NT1613 : The south slope of Carrifran Gans for a walker tackling this slope in ascent.
by Jim Barton

NT1512 : Growing trees in Carrifran Glen by Jim Barton
A general view of the lower slopes of Carrifran Gans, the hill bounding the northern side of the Wildwood project's area. More information can be seen at LinkExternal link and in the book 'The Carrifran Wildwood Story' by Myrtle and Philip Ashmole, Borders Forest Trust, Jedburgh 2009.
by Jim Barton

NT1512 : An original tree, Carrifran by Jim Barton
This lone tree has been joined by thousands more on the hillsides each side, following the Carrifran Wildwood planting programme begun in 2000.
by Jim Barton

NT1511 : Car park for Carrifran Wildwood by Jim Barton
The small unobtrusive car park is on the N side of the A708.
by Jim Barton

NT1511 : Sheep enclosure on Peat Hill side by M J Richardson
In Carrifran Glen, part of the Millennium Forest Carrifran Wildwood area of landscape restoration. For more information see LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

NT1611 : Information board and Carrifran Glen by Jim Barton
The board is in a sheep stell (sheepfold) with a good view up the valley, on the half-hour round walk starting from the car park.
by Jim Barton

2011
NT1512 : Footbridge over the Carrifran Burn by Jim Barton
A footbridge below the sheepfold and viewpoint for the glen. Judging by the amount of growth, there is very little usage of paths on the W side of the burn here.
by Jim Barton

NT1512 : Forest regeneration, Carrifran by Jim Barton
A decade or so after the Wildwood planting project began, these slopes are showing marked coverage of tree growth as grazing animals have been excluded.
by Jim Barton

NT1512 : Carrifran Glen and Raven Crag by Jim Barton
From the track up the glen on the E side of the burn, showing how established the new plantations are becoming.
by Jim Barton

NT1511 : Board walk, Carrifran by Jim Barton
Part of the loop walk from the car park via the viewpoint at the sheepfold. Dun Knowe, the steep southern ridge of Carrifran Gans is ahead.
by Jim Barton

2013
NT1612 : Carrifran Gans by Richard Webb
A very steep hill above the now rewooded Carrifran Glen. Even the ridge is a knee grinder on descent.
by Richard Webb

NT1611 : Carrifran by Richard Webb
The rewooded Carrifran glen looks rather different from my last visit now that the trees are established.

Your knees will never forgive a descent of the steep Carrifran Gans ridge in the background.
by Richard Webb

2014
NT1612 : Carrifran Gans by Richard Webb
The steep ridge on the north side of the now wooded Carrifran Glen.
by Richard Webb

NT1512 : Carrifran Glen by Richard Webb
Looking up the now wooded Carrifran Glen.
by Richard Webb

NT1611 : Carrifran by Richard Webb
The now wooded Carrifran glen and view down Moffatdale. The glen has been reforested with native trees and the new woodland is well established, as is a population of willow warblers.
by Richard Webb

2015
NT1611 : Access to Carrifran Wildwood by Leslie Barrie
Project started in 2000 to recreate an ancient woodland.
by Leslie Barrie

NT1611 : Boardwalk at Carrifran by Jim Barton
A stretch of boardwalk on the path from the car park to the viewpoint into the valley. The trees have grown noticeably since my last visit about 6 years ago.
by Jim Barton

NT1611 : Developing woodland at Carrifran by Jim Barton
Trees on the lower slopes of Dun Knowe. The first trees planted in the reforestation of this glen were planted on 1 January 2000 - since then, over half a million trees and shrubs have been planted.

See ‘The Carrifran Wildwood Story’ by Myrtle and Philip Ashmole (Borders Forest Trust, Jedburgh 2009) or the website LinkExternal link for an account of this ambitious project.
by Jim Barton

NT1511 : Sheepfold below Peat Hill by Leslie Barrie
View towards Carrifran Gans
by Leslie Barrie

2016
NT1511 : Path at Carrifran by Jim Barton
A path on the E bank of the burn, completing a loop back to the car park as a short walk option from the viewpoint shown in NT1611 : Information boards in Carrifran Valley. The post is one of the markers identifying the tree species.
by Jim Barton

NT1512 : Carrifran glen by Jim Barton
A view from the sheepfold and information point up to Raven Craig at the head of the glen.
by Jim Barton

NT1512 : Hillside woodland, Carrifran by Jim Barton
The glen has been extensively replanted with a variety of trees and shrubs appropriate to the location. The hillside in view leads up to Saddle Yoke. Compare with NT1512 : The Wildwood Programme showing a similar view in 2008.

See LinkExternal link for more background to the project.
by Jim Barton

NT1512 : The Carrifran Burn by Jim Barton
The burn winding down past replanted slopes to join the Moffat Water.
by Jim Barton

The upper valley, ca 250-500m [2007-2016]

2007
NT1513 : One of Carrifran's Cleuch's by Iain Lees
This one spits you out at the summit
by Iain Lees

2008 2009
NT1513 : Cairn in Carrifran Glen by M J Richardson
The upper part of the glen, part of the Carrifran Wildwood project NT1511 : Information board at the Carrifran Wildwood carpark. Priest Craig on the left, Raven Craig on the right.
by M J Richardson

NT1513 : Firthhope Rig from Carrifran Glen by M J Richardson
With new plantings as part of the wildwood project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley in 2000, and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

2010
NT1513 : Carrifran Glen from the cairn by Jim Barton
A view back down the glen with cloud base at about 500m.
by Jim Barton

NT1513 : Upper reaches of Carrifran Glen by Jim Barton
The steep hillsides enclosing Firthhope Burn as seen from the cairn on the valley floor.
by Jim Barton

NT1513 : Cairn, Carrifran Glen by Jim Barton
A mist-shrouded Raven Craig is in the background.
by Jim Barton

NT1413 : Priest Craig and Saddle Yoke by Jim Barton
A view from W of Firthhope Burn across the lower slopes of Raven Craig, showing part of the large area replanted by the Carrifran Wildwood project.
by Jim Barton

NT1413 : Trees on the hillside, Carrifran by Jim Barton
It's unusual to walk up a hillside planted with trees such as rowan, oak or holly rather than conifers. Here the glen has been replanted by over a decade's work by volunteer and professional labour in an imaginative project of landscape restoration.
by Jim Barton

NT1514 : High level tree planting by Jim Barton
Firth Hope, at around 700 m, was selected as one site for high level planting of juniper, downy birch and rowan to establish a natural treeline for the Carrifran Wildwood. (Source: 'The Carrifran Wildwood Story' by Myrtle and Philip Ashmole, Borders Forest Trust, Jedburgh 2009). See also LinkExternal link
by Jim Barton

NT1514 : Upper reaches of Little Firthhope Burn by Jim Barton
The burn drains peaty moorland on the NW side of Carrifran Gans, before plunging dramatically steeply to join the larger Firthhope Burn.
by Jim Barton

NT1514 : Firthhope Linn by Jim Barton
A series of cascades on the Firthhope Burn, all the more attractive as they are hidden from view from further down the glen.
by Jim Barton

2011
NT1413 : A waterfall in Priest Gill by Jim Barton
A small fall about 2m drop below Priest Craig, near the head of the Carrifran glen.
by Jim Barton

2016
NT1513 : The Carrifran Burn by Jim Barton
The replanted slopes in the upper part of the glen to Firth Hope.
by Jim Barton

NT1513 : The upper glen from the cairn, Carrifran by Jim Barton
Looking up to Firth Hope from the cairn to the west of the burn.
by Jim Barton


AROUND THE RIM

The higher levels of the ridge surrounding the valley, above ca 700m, are too high for forest but, with no grazing pressure, can develop the sort of montane vegetation that should be there. Between about 700 and 350m the environment suits dwarf montane shrubs, rather than forest trees. Examples of the higher levels around the rim of the valley follow, from the west at Saddle Yoke [735m, NT148136] north, round via Raven Craig and Firthhope Rig [800m, NT150157] to the summit plateau of White Coomb [821m, NT163151m], and then south via Carrifran Gans [751m, NT159139] to about the 450m level.

Lower west side of the valley, to Saddle Yoke

2008, with the east facing hillside of the valley still quite bare 2009
NT1511 : Peat Hill side at Carrifran by M J Richardson
A view from the car park at Carrifran Wildwood, a project to return this ice-carved valley in the Southern Uplands to the wild forest that it once was, before modern man and the sheep arrived. The Borders Forest Trust bought the 650 ha of the Carrifran Valley and the process of restoration continues. For more information see LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

NT1511 : Sheep enclosure on Peat Hill side by M J Richardson
In Carrifran Glen, part of the Millennium Forest Carrifran Wildwood area of landscape restoration. For more information see LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

2011
NT1412 : Saddle Yoke from Under Saddle Yoke by Jim Barton
Under Saddle Yoke is higher by about 10m, the name probably referring to its position in the glen. One of the few narrow ridges in the Border hills, this is a dividing ridge between two steep-sided glacial side valleys.
by Jim Barton

2015
NT1412 : Towards Saddle Yoke by Iain Russell
View of the final steep ascent of the hill with Under Saddle Yoke behind on the right.
by Iain Russell

NT1412 : Under Saddle Yoke by Iain Russell
View of the short ridge connecting this slightly higher hill with Saddle Yoke.
by Iain Russell

Saddle Yoke to Rotten Bottom

2008
NT1414 : Games Castle by Iain Lees
This Tor Rises out of the Mire that is Rotten Bottom
by Iain Lees

2010
NT1414 : Games Gill and Raven Craig by Jim Barton
A line of rock outcrops the slope here between about 600 and 650 m, above which the gradient eases to the peaty uplands of Firthhope Rig.
by Jim Barton

NT1413 : Sunlight catching Raven Craig by Jim Barton
Raven Craig seen from Gupe Craig on the edge of the steep escarpment N of Carrifran Gans. Hart Fell is the high ground on the skyline.
by Jim Barton

2011
NT1413 : Priest Craig, Carrifran by Jim Barton
The slopes below the crag have had some planting as part of the Wildwood project.
by Jim Barton

Firthhope Rig and White Coomb

1998 - note the sheep
NT1615 : The grassy summit of White Coomb by Colin Park
Molls Cleuch Dod is the summit on the left, whilst Firthybrig Head is the lower summit in front. To the right is Lochcraig Head.
by Colin Park

1999
NT1615 : White Coomb summit by Richard Webb
Big flat mossy plateau at the top of Dumfriesshire. Typical of the fast easy terrain of this range of hills.
by Richard Webb

2007
NT1515 : Firthhope Rig Summit by Callum Black
Walkers traversing from White Coomb to Lochcraig Head would need to make a short diversion from the obvious fence line route to reach this cairn.
by Callum Black

2009 a winter scene
NT1515 : Heading to White Coomb by Raibeart MacAoidh
Leaving the summit of Firthhope Rig and heading to White Coomb.
by Raibeart MacAoidh

2015
NT1415 : Dyke on Firthhope Rig by Eileen Henderson
The old boundary dyke, which can be seen at the top right of the photo continuing its way to the top of Firthhope Rig, has seen better days and has been replaced by a wire fence.
by Eileen Henderson

2017
NT1515 : Track from White Coomb by Jim Barton
Looking from Firthhope Rig alongside the old wall and fence.
by Jim Barton

NT1515 : Saddle Yoke from Firthhope Rig by Jim Barton
The ridge of Saddle Yoke seen from the col NW of White Coomb.
by Jim Barton

NT1515 : Summit fence, Firthhope Rig by Jim Barton
Looking west towards some of the turbines of the 512MW capacity Clyde wind farm.
by Jim Barton

Carrifran Gans

2006
NT1513 : The top of Carrifran Gans by Eileen Henderson
At 757 metres, Carrifran Gans is not a particularly high hill, but fairly tough going all the same, with boggy ground and rough tussocks.
by Eileen Henderson

NT1514 : Peat hags on Gupe Craig by Eileen Henderson
Looking north-east, with the south-western slope of White Coomb in the distance.
by Eileen Henderson

NT1613 : The south slope of Carrifran Gans by Eileen Henderson
It's a relentless slog to get to the top of this 757 metre hill north east of Moffat.
by Eileen Henderson

2007
NT1514 : Small pool by Callum Black
An obvious landmark between White Coomb and Carrifran Gans.
by Callum Black

NT1514 : Carrifran Gans from the north by Jim Barton
As seen from the slopes of Firthhope Rig, Gupe Craig is the steep ground to the right of Little Firthhope Burn with the flat top of Carrifran Gans beyond.
by Jim Barton

NT1514 : Peaty col north of Carrifran Gans by Jim Barton
A view from near the summit of Firthhope Rig showing the small lochan on the col with the Carrifran boundary fence just visible on the hillside left of centre.
by Jim Barton

2012
NT1614 : View across White Coomb summit plateau by Alan O'Dowd
Looking towards the Hart Fell group of hills
by Alan O'Dowd

2018
NT1513 : Fence and ATV track on Carrifran Gans by wrobison
On the summit plateau. The fence continues down the steep southern slope to the A708 road. The Solway Firth and the hills of the Lake District are in the far distance.
by wrobison


OTHER ORGANISMS

Although the focus of the Wildwood project was/is reforestation, this process has had its effect on the non-woody vegetation – herbs, ferns, mosses and liverworts, fungi, and all groups of animals. What this article lacks is images of many of these montane plants – they can, however, be found in the BFT 2020 book. All have been carefully and extensively monitored in the last 20 years and considerable change recorded. They have all been covered in the well written and illustrated book A Journey in Landscape Restoration – Carrifran Wildwood and Beyond edited by Philip and Myrtle Ashmole for the BFT. [2020] 223pp. [ISBN 978-184995-472-3]. A few of these other groups have featured on Geograph :-

Herbs

Some tall herbs in 2010; probably flourishing without grazing
NT1414 : Games Gill from below by Jim Barton
Games Gill borders the NE end of Raven Crag, part of the steep headwall surrounding Carrifran Glen.
by Jim Barton

NT1512 : Bog Asphodel in Carrifran Glen by M J Richardson
A common and characteristic plant of wet places on acid moorland. The second part of its latin name [Narthecium ossifragum] translates as 'bone breaker', and relates to the fact that it was thought that grazing it caused sheep bones to be brittle; in fact it is the acid, calcium-deficient pastures in the habitats where it grows that are the problem.
by M J Richardson

Invertebrates

Dragonfly on young Oak
NT1512 : Common Hawker dragonfly by M J Richardson
A male of the species (Aeshna juncea), common especially in moorland habitats in the north and west. This one was resting on a cool day on a young oak, one of many planted as part of the Carrifran Wildwood project - see NT1611 : The lower slopes of Carrifran Gans and LinkExternal link.
by M J Richardson

Fungus

An interesting association of grass, invertebrate and fungus
NT1512 : Not just a few bits of grass... by M J Richardson
The lengths of yellow on four of the stems are a fungus [Epichloe typhina], an ascomycete, causing choke disease of grasses - see NT1512 : Choke disease of grass for more detail. A fifth, white, one to the left is an immature stage. The lowest one was being grazed on by the larva of a fly, possibly Botanophila phrenione [Anthomyiidae], which is known to be associated with choke fungus stromata. It is part of a three-some, the other two being the grass and the fungus, which together form a mutualistic relationship. The affected stems are 'choked' and do not produce flowers. This host here was Agrostis, a Bent-Grass, in the Carrifran Glen.
by M J Richardson

NT1512 : Choke disease of grass by M J Richardson
Detail of a fungus [Epichloe typhina] 'choking' grass - see NT1512 : Not just a few bits of grass... for its appearance in the wild. Each little dot in the fungus mass [stroma] is a body producing spores [perithecium]. This stroma was 15 mm long - they can be up to 50 mm long, and one of many seen on Bent-grass in Carrifran Glen.
by M J Richardson


THE FUTURE

Since the start of the Wildwood Project on Millennium Day the BFT has acquired two more properties. In 2009 Corehead & Devil’s Beef Tub, north of Moffat, was acquired; the 650ha hill farm will be used to show how farming and woodland restoration can come together and at its eastern extremity is only 3km from the Carrifran Wildwood. In 2013 Talla & Gameshope, a 1832ha of wild land immediately adjacent to Carrifran, and descending northwards from ca 750m down to ca 370m at Fruid Reservoir was acquired. The size and proximity of these three area means that they be treated as a joined-up programme of work – Reviving the Wild Heart of Southern Scotland - with the hope that the project will enable the return of thriving native habitats like broadleaved woodlands, heathlands, moorlands, wetlands, deep peat and montane scrub.

This article will be left open for editing in the hope that others who follow in the years ahead will continue to document this great project by adding new images.




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