Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve

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Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve

Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve is part of the much larger SSSI, SAC and SPA complex and also makes up part of the Nith Estuary National Scenic Area. It presents a dramatic open landscape that stretches for 16 kilometers along the Solway coast, covering approximately 8,000 hectares, 85% of which is tidal mudflats and sandbanks that disappear at high tide. On the shore, saltmarshes (locally called 'merse') are inundated by the highest tides, with small areas of brackish and freshwater marshland beyond. The Reserve is covered by a unique plan that integrates nature conservation, wildfowling, fishing and agriculture.

Notable animal species: Barnacle Goose, Pink-footed Goose, thousands of other wildfowl and waders, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Short-eared Owl, Natterjack Toads, Sea Lamprey, River Lamprey and Tadpole Shrimp.

Notable plant species: Holy Grass, Glasswort, Sea Blight, Thrift. Nearly 250 species of flowering plant have been identified on the Reserve.

Best in: Come between late autumn and early spring to see incredible numbers of waders and waterfowl including thousands of Barnacle Goose. In the summer listen to the chorus of Natterjack Toads. Butterflies and dragonflies abound. Many birds also breed on the Reserve such as Lapwing, Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting.


Caerlaverock is on the north shore of the Solway Firth to the south east of Dumfries.
Postcode of car park: DG1 4RS
Latitude: 54.976543°
Longitude: -3.496783°

How to get there:

By car: To reach Caerlaverock take the B725 road south from Dumfries to Glencaple/Bankend, following the east bank of the River Nith. From Annan, take the B724 west to Bankhead. The visitor centre is well-signposted.

By public transport: The nearest bus stop is at Caerlaverock (1.3 miles) on the Dumfries - Caerlaverock route. The nearest station is in Dumfries (8 miles) on the Kilmarnock - Carlisle line.

By bike / on foot: The Milton to Annan section of NCN Route 7 (Glasgow - Carlisle) passes the visitor centre and car park. Bicycle rack available in the car park. There are no nearby long distance walking routes.


There are car parks found near Hollands Farm and at Castle Corner. There are also a number of picnic benches located at castle corner car park. Leaflets, with a map and information about the NNR can also be obtained from these car parks.
There are a number of walks from Castle Corner and Hollands car park of varying length. Some of these are on board walk.
The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust have a visitor centre and hides (fee applies) adjacent to the NNR. For further information please see their website: There are also toilet facilities here.

There is a hide on the boardwalk accessed from Hollands car park. The hide overlooks open ground and reed beds.


Scottish Natural Heritage
Tel: 01387 272 440

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Site Map

Click map to enlarge image.

Click here to download map as pdf.
Caerlaverock - photo by Lorne Gill