Garlies Wood – Castle Brae Wood, Glenmalloch and Hawk Hill Wood
The total area of woodland in this 32ha site is approximately 26ha and is divided into three groups known as Castle Brae Wood, Glenmalloch and Hawk Hill Wood.
The woodlands are recorded as long established and of semi-natural origin in Walter and Kirby (1989). The woodlands are contiguous with the Knockman Woodland complex. The surrounding agricultural land is hill grazing with occasional mature oak trees, which is a typical pasture woodland habitat.
A dense bracken ground flora reflects a long history of intense grazing pressure by domestic stock.
The woodland is predominantly Sessile oak and non-native species are rare. The canopy of the oak is closed and trees are approximately 100 years old.
Many years of grazing pressure from fallow deer and domestic stock has prevented natural regeneration and the shrub layer is poor. Cattle and sheep are now excluded from the site.
Grasses and mosses are key components of the ground cover. Bluebell is a dominant species in the spring, and bracken can be dense in parts of the woodland. Alder, willow, hawthorn, blackthorn, elder, rowan and birch tend to be restricted to the streamsides. The NVC classification for this woodland is W11 type (Quercus – Betula – Oxalis).
Three areas of wetland occur within the woodland, which are species rich and contain colonies of Small pearl bordered fritillary butterflies. Purple hairstreak butterflies occur in the canopy.
In the adjacent field margin there is pasture woodland habitat and the oak trees are probably 200 years old. This area is a good site for breeding Pied flycatcher and Redstart.
There is an interesting lichen community on some of the mature oaks and ash. The waterfall area south of the Castle contains regionally scarce Bryophytes.
The deer park, with its high stone dyke, was established by General Sir William Stewart in 1824. The castle dates from the 12th Century, although it was expanded in 1500.
Close by the castle there are a number of early ferme touns and corn kilns;
Closy (NX419693) and
- Expand the area of broadleaf species at Castle Brae, Hawk Hill and Glenmalloch Woods, mainly by natural regeneration but also with a small amount of planting.
- Establish coppice with standard plots within the main area of Garlies Wood.
- Protect shrub species from grazing pressure with individual tree protection, boundary fences and deer control.
- Establish a baseline inventory of flora and fauna for the existing oak woodlands.
- Control bracken to enhance open grassland and woodland plant communities.
- Establish habitats for saproxylic species within the woodland.
- Encourage nesting of hole-nesting bird species by the provision of nest boxes.
- Encourage use of the woodland by bats by providing artificial roosting and breeding sites.
Provide habitats suitable for woodland butterflies by controlling bracken.
- Carry out regular flora and fauna surveys
- Develop an interpretation strategy for Garlies Wood concentrated around the Castle site.
- Link any archaeological interpretation of the site with that of Knockman and the other Cree Valley woodlands.