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Blairmount Park

Blairmount Park and Doonhill Wood are close to Newton Stewart and are used by hundreds of local residents.

Blairmount Park

 

Wetland Plant Commmunities

Wetland Plant Communities

A wetland habitat of open water was established where the old curling pond had once been sited.

This contains two large and two small islands. Water enters the pond on its eastern margin as a result of seepage from the Doonhill water table.

There is a regular movement of water during the winter months. The pond water level is controlled by the construction of a new sluice. Water leaves the pond and reaches the Challoch burn through underground pipes.

In the management of this site an area of Sitka spruce to the west of the Pond was thinned and the crop removed.

Access was improved by building nearly 2km of all abilities trails.

The wetland area is locally important to wildlife, especially dragonflies and damselflies. Eleven species have been recorded on the site including golden ringed dragonfly and the scarce damselfly. Frogs and toads are numerous.

Golden Ringed Dragonfly

Golden Ringed Dragonfly
Copyright © Richard Ford 2003
Digitalwildlife.co.uk

A new woodland has been created with the planting of trees (aspen, rowan, hazel, alder and birch) by local volunteers. A wide range of birds have been seen throughout the site including, peregrine, sparrowhawk, kestrel, tawny owl, cuckoo and tree creeper.

Breeding birds include willow warbler, white throat, pied wagtail, mallard and moorhen. Wintering tufted duck have been recorded on the Pond. Red squirrels occupy the Park.

Links have been established with local primary and secondary schools to provide field outings to the Park as part of the Curriculum for Excellence.

On-going Management

  • Selective thinning of 2.5 hectares of woodland to improve structure.
  • Monitor the colonisation of the habitat.
  • Provision of bat and bird boxes.
  • Expand the broadleaf woodlands into new areas.
  • Maintain an open area of water.
  • Provide and maintain interpretation boards.
  • Maintain/upgrade footpath.
  • Provide semi-circular boardwalk and pond-dipping platform.
  • Provide log and brash piles for invertebrates.
  • Create wildflower area.
  • Provide seating.

Doonhill Wood

All abilities access path

All abilities access path

The woodland is semi-natural and contains a mixture of sycamore, wych elm, oak and ash (5.5ha). It is extensively coppiced with a dense, high canopy. There appear to have been two different phases of coppicing within the woodland. In the most recent area of coppicing, bramble and bracken are co-dominants. The shrub layer is hazel, holly and hawthorn.

Close to housing estates, the establishment of 900m of all abilities trail has improved access for the local community and visitors who use the woodland for regular dog walking, weekend walking and also access to and from the Douglas Ewart High School. The most important ancient woodland plant indicator present is sweet woodruff, a locally scarce species. It is a significant landscape feature providing the wooded backdrop to Newton Stewart.

There is clear evidence of major felling within the woodland on at least two occasions in the last fifty years. Felling has taken place to provide a supply of local timber as firewood, to provide access routes for water supply pipes from the reservoir above the wood. The following breeding bird species are known to be present, which are locally distributed – blackcap, wood warbler, garden warbler and spotted flycatcher. A small rookery is present. Up to five species of bats are commonly seen in and around the woodland.

Links have been established with local primary and secondary schools to provide field outings to the Park as part of the Curriculum for Excellence.

Red Squirrel

Photography by Alan V. Turner

On-going Management

  • Enrichment native broadleaf planting.
  • Selective thinning of approximately 2.5ha of broadleaves and 0.2ha of conifers to improve woodland structure.
  • Control of non-native ground vegetation and garden escapes.
  • Provision and maintenance of interpretive materials.
  • Maintenance/upgrade of footpaths and gates.
  • Provision of log and brash piles for invertebrates.
  • Provision of bat and bird boxes.