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Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve

An area of marshland, open water and woodland which forms a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) noted for its biodiversity, Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve is located a quarter-mile (0.5 km) southeast of Lochwinnoch in SW Renfrewshire. Managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the reserve forms part of the largest wetland in SW Scotland and includes Barr Loch together with the smaller Aird Meadow Loch.

The A760 road divides the reserve into two and a visitor centre at the side of this road offers views over the marshland and loch, where a variety of wildfowl and wading birds make their home in winter. The centre includes an observation tower together with expert staff to assist visitors. It is the starting point for trails which pass through the reserve and give access to a number of hides. In the summer, water-meadows come alive with wildflowers.

The wetland and associated sedgebeds are popular with bird-watchers and provide the opportunity to observe a variety of unusual birds including the Grasshopper Warbler, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler and Water Rail, together with Great Crested Grebe which breed here in the Spring and wintering whooper swans. Plants species include Butterfly Orchids, Creeping Yellow Cress and Tufted Loosestrife.

The Reserve has two nature trails and a number of bird hides. It lies within the Castle Semple Country Park Clyde, itself part of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, and it serves as one of the three national RSPB Environmental Education centres for Scottish schools.


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