Date: Friday 27 April 2012
RSPB Scotland has bought one of the UK’s most important conservation sites for more than £1 million.
The wildlife charity paid £1.1m for land at the Wards Estate, near Gartocharn on the south-east shore of Loch Lomond.
The area is home to a rich variety of wildlife that inhabit the woodlands, mires, fens, grasslands and floodplain of the River Endrick.
A nature reserve already has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation and is considered one of the best examples of an intact mosaic of floodplain wetland habitats in Scotland.
RSPB Scotland now hopes to secure the future of the 563 acre nature reserve through a partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority. The partnership will ensure the site will be managed as a haven for wildlife on Loch Lomond, supporting breeding and wintering waders and waterfowl including the Greenland white-fronted geese, greylag geese, pink-footed geese, as well as ospreys during the summer and a small number of whooper swans.
It is also the natural habitat for some 400 species of plants, including some nationally rare ones such as the endemic Scottish or Loch Lomond dock, which was only discovered in 1936.
Dave Beaumont, RSPB regional reserves manager for south Scotland, described the site as “a gem”.