Naturalist Country

Where We Are >> Galloway Tour >> Naturalist Country

Galloway scores highly for leading naturalist Mike Dilger, as seen on the BBC with his hit-list of top UK wildlife experiences.

He gets excited about Basking Sharks, for which Galloway's coastal waters are now a hotspot among the cognoscenti, but frankly you'd be lucky to see one in just a week's holiday - still, bring your sea kayak in May, and you never know ....

Two of Dilger's top ten which you CAN see here at Gelston:


"In 2002 the bluebell was made Britain's national flower, and when growing en masse in spring woodlands it creates a display that surely ranks as our greatest botanical spectacle. An incredible 50% of the world's entire bluebell population is confined to our shores." [Dilger]

When: most of May.

Where: the estate has some prime sites, e.g. the back of "The Larches" (the fresh colour of spring Larch shoots is a magical combination with bluebells), or Barlae hill - the challenge is to get out and discover them ... Torglass hill opposite the end of our drive is a classic bluebell wood of ancient native oaks. The best known location is Carstramon Woods near Gatehouse of Fleet, 20 mins drive away.

Red Squirrels

Scotland is Britain's last refuge of the red squirrel, under threat from the non-native greys imported from America, and Galloway has an estimated one sixth of the entire British population of reds. Keith Kirk, our local Ranger, reckons that as the greys continue their relentless advance, Galloway will become the last refuge of the reds, as they can survive in Galloway's extensive spruce forests, where the greys cannot.

When: best in spring and autumn (nut gathering), also Jan/Feb for their courtship frolics!

Where: Gelston Castle estate is a favourite spot! At Dalbeattie Forest (8 miles) there is a special waymarked trail with information posts.

And Much More

The slideshow on the right gives a small taster, and everything in it you can realistically expect to see here (not true of all tourism websites, regrettably!): all the photos were taken locally, some on Gelston Castle Estate. For a wider-ranging wildlife survey (currently text only), click link below:

  1. Nature Highlights

A very selective list of more to see in Galloway. Also some free PDF downloads of much more detailed local wildlife material, and how to send off for a free birdwatching guide for Dumfries & Galloway.

Related pages

Explore The Estate >> Flora And Fauna (in section What We Offer).
Sports And Outdoors >> WildlifeWatching? (in current section Where We Are). For dates of next spring's Wildlife Festival, see News & Offers (menu above).
Through The Seasons (in section When To Come) has information on when to catch particular things.
External Links (menu above) also has some good material beyond this site.

Galloway Tour, next ...

  1. The Debris Of History

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