Applegarthtown Wildlife Sanctuary, Near Lochmaben

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Applegarthtown Wildlife Sanctuary, Near Lochmaben

Applegarthtown Wildlife Sanctuary is a former wasteland site, owned by the Crown Estate, which was flooded in 1984 to create a nature reserve.  It is a wetland habitat of just under 2 acres, internationally recognised for its highly successful artificial sand martin nesting banks.  Summer evenings witness several thousand martins wheeling over the pond, along with a nesting colony of raucous black-headed gulls, while on the water various species of duck, geese and the occasional swan can be seen throughout the year.  The sanctuary is set in tranquil farmland, just to the north of Lochmaben, and boasts a large hide from which to view the wildlife activity.

Notable animal species: sand martins, swallows and black-headed gulls.  Water rail, grebe, greylag geese and various species of duck  may also be seen.

Best In: There’s always something to see but late spring, summer and early autumn are best for the sight of feeding martins and the noise of the gulls.  Autumn and winter are good for migrant geese and swans.


About 2 miles northeast of Lochmaben and a similar distance northwest of Lockerbie, Applegarthtown forms the tip of a triangle of local wildlife sites.
Post Code: DG11 1SX.
Grid Reference: NY 106841.
Latitude:  55.142473
Longitude: -3.406126

How to get there

By car: from Lockerbie, travel north on the B7076 for approx 1½ miles, turn right at the Sibbaldbie, Boreland, Eskdalemuir sign, then turn sharp left over the motorway. Continue for ¾ mile to 'T' junction and turn right. After 200 yards, turn left and follow road for ¼ mile to reach your destination.

From Lochmaben, travel north on the B7020, and turn right at the Kinnel Bridge, heading for Millhousebridge. At the crossroads in Millhousebridge turn right and follow the sign for Dalton. Pass the sign for Applegarth Church, and take the next right for ¼ mile.

By bus service: services 110 (infrequently) and 117 (more frequently) travel between Lockerbie and Lochmaben via nearby Millhousebridge.

By cycle / on foot: Applegarthtown is accessible from both Lochmaben and Lockerbie along quiet roads.

There is a setting down area for visitors right at the entrance to the sanctuary.  Parking is otherwise only 10 metres from the entrance and the path to the hide is on flat ground.


  • Interpretation boards at car park and entrance.
  • A hardcore path runs around the perimeter of the site from the entrance to the hide.
  • One large bird-watching hide (wheelchair accessible) overlooking the pond.


The site is managed by the Crown Estate, the local office for which is at:

Dumfries & Galloway
DG11 1SX
Tel: 01576 203153

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