The Devil's Beef Tub: "It looks as if four hills were laying their heads together to shut out daylight from the dark hollow space between them. A damned deep, black, blackguard - looking abyss of a hole it is."
The Solway is home to the entire world population of wintering Svalbard Barnacle Geese. These Black and White geese visit the Solway between September and April and many of these roost at WWT Caelaverock, only a few miles west of Barnkirk Point where the ANNANDALE WAY begins. WWW Caerlaverock is pen all year for visitors to the Solway. The Wild Goose Chase occurs each year to celebrate the diversity of visiting Geese to Dumfries and alloway, with the majority of activities taking place in March across the whole of the region.
Visit the reserve and take a walk around to discover the wildlife that has made its home in this former sand & gravel quarry. There's something to see whatever time of the year you visit. Look for the richly coloured insects, dragonflies, butterflies and bumblebees in the wildlife meadow in spring and early summer, the wading birds , Curlew, Snipe and Lapwing in winter. Little Grebe, Geese and Mute Swans also feed in this lochan all year round.
Extending to some 7 acres, there are three ponds and two hides and an extensive range of bird nesting boxes bringing more popular birds close to the observer. There is a thriving population of frogs and toads, palmate newts and the odd common lizard along with Dragonflies, Damselflies and Darters in the summer months. Peacock, Painted Lady and Small Copper Butterflies are also seen regularly. Mammals include Roe Deer, Fox and Badger as well as the occasional Stoat in addition to the inevitable collection of small mammals such as Moles, Voles and Wood mice. Pipistrelle, Noctule and Long-Eared Bats may be seen at dusk.
The Reserve, just outside Lockerbie, sits on the site of an old curling pond. It occupies 7 acres and contains a mixture of habitats including mixed woodland, grassland, heathland, willow carr, reed bed, stream and pond each with its own associated flora and fauna. There is a Coniferous woodland to the north and west with a rich Deciduous understory, permanent grassland to the east and marshland to the south. Notable animal species include Red Squirrel, Willow Tit, Little Grebe, Kingfisher and Tawny Owl.
Broadleaved and Coniferous Woodland beside the River Annan with a good mixturer of woodland bird species. River species include Goosander, Heron and Kingfisher. Also keep eyes open for Otter hunting in the River and tributaries.
Roe Deer seen throughout the year. Use the Hill as a vantage point on clear mornings or evenings to spot larger mammals such as Deer, Fox and Badger in the Annan Valley. Binoculars needed! Ravens also a regular visitor playing on the air currents of the Hill.
Castle Loch, the largest and shallowest of the lochs in Lochmaben is located between Lockerbie and Dumfries and is one of the earliest Local Nature Reserves (LNR) and also a site of national and international importantance for its birdlife. A slight diversion towards Lochmaben Castle (former stronghold of the Bruce family) will show some excellent specimens of Oak and Beech with resident Red Squirrels. The Loch is Internationally important for wintering Pink-footed Geese from Iceland and Greenland along with Greylag Geese and Goosanders. A Bird hide, leaflets and interpretation boards are available for use all ear, as well as the chainsaw sculpture trail showing creatures, history and archaeology all found at the Castle Loch.
Owned and planted by the Crown Estate, Corncockle Plantation contains some interesting plant and fungal species.