Hundred-year plan to transform land at Kelton Mains

The National Trust for Scotland has revealed an ambitious 100-year plan to transform 81 hectares of Dumfries and Galloway countryside into rich natural habitats once again.

Threave Landscape Restoration Project will create rich natural habitats
Threave Landscape Restoration Project will create rich natural habitats

The Threave Landscape Restoration Project will transform land at Kelton Mains through a century-spanning plan to restore native wetlands and woodlands.

Amongst the first steps is ‘undraining’ the land, allowing the River Dee and its floodplain to revert to more natural flow patterns and enabling the wetlands to re-establish.

This will expand the habitats available for a wide range of native and migrant waterfowl, and many other species.

Another key focus for 2021 is reintroducing native woodland species, with the ultimate ambition to create a 30-hectare native woodland, through planting and woodland regeneration methods.

There will also be an exploration of how livestock can be managed in new ways to balance agricultural production with nature recovery.

Dumfries and Galloway operations manager Dr Sam Gallacher said: “We’ve been building up research on how we do this at Threave since 2017, working with experts in woodlands, grasslands and wetlands.

"We have put together both an immediate and long-term plan to help kickstart and support natural processes, but also use this site as a massive experiment to help us find best practice and methods to inspire others whether in Scotland or further afield.”

The path network around the site will also be improved, giving better visitor access.

Support for this phase of the project comes from the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Galloway Glens chairman Ted Leeming said: “This is a flagship project of huge ambition and potentially of national importance.

"The Threave Landscape Restoration Project is ideally placed to be an exemplar of how biodiversity can thrive and mange itself, at its own pace, with minimal intervention."

Public outreach to discuss the project and its long-term benefits is now underway, and further project partners will be announced over the summer.

Regular updates will be posted at