Group getting hands on at Knowetop

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The Galloway Group of the Scottish Wildlife Trust had a “hands-on” conservation day at the Knowetop Lochs reserve, between Balmaclellan and Corsock.

Knowetop Lochs reserve features some important peat bog areas and these were the main focus of the day’s activities.

A constant problem is that of conifer and birch saplings becoming established and taking over. This soon leads to the wetlands drying out and becoming degraded, so some folk did a great job in removing large numbers of these unwanted invaders. The reserve is also known for its abundance of Dragonflies.

These seem to do best in new pools and a group of helpers got stuck in (sometimes literally!) to help Chris Archbold, Reserves Project Officer, dig a new pool that should provide a fresh breeding site for a range of species. Pond dipping elsewhere revealed newts, damselfly larvae and water boatmen. For more information email: swtgalloway@gmail.com

The group also found out found out, courtesy of Dr Emily Taylor, Peatland Action Project Officer, by using a peat probe - basically a very long stick - that the peat depth varies from a little under two metres to a staggering 7.89 metres! Peat forms at about one millimetre per year so this represents about 8000 years of peat formation.

Jon Noad, Scottish Wildlife Trust Galloway Group secretary, said: “We learned a lot about the site, enjoyed spending time with knowledgeable and enthusiastic people and got some very valuable conservation work done. A very big thank you goes to everybody who took part on Sunday, many of whom departed a little weary but asking “can we do it again?”. Of course we can!”