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Woodhall Dean

A small wooded gorge, on the course of the Woodhall Burn, 2 miles (3 km) south southeast of Spott in East Lothian. Woodhall Dean Nature Reserve is managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and extends into similar gorges containing tributaries of the Woodhall Burn, namely Steel Cleugh, the Boonslie Burn and the Weatherley Burn. It covers an area of 60 ha (148 acres). These deans contain a semi-natural woodland of sessile oak, which represents an isolated remnant of the type of natural forest which covered southern Scotland in the past. In the centre of the reserve is an area of old multi-stemmed oak trees which were formed through coppicing, last practiced here in the 1880s. The timber extracted was used to make charcoal and in the leather tanning industry. Native trees have been encouraged through recent planting, while non-native species include larch, Scots pine, sycamore and occasional hornbeam. A steep narrow circular path takes visitors through the reserve, which includes interesting plants, rich bird-life and other wildlife including roe deer and occasional adders. Woodland flowers include drifts of bluebell, primrose, red campion and moschatel, with interesting moss and lichen communities on the steeper slopes. Birds include buzzard, jay, woodpecker, together with blackcap, whitethroat, garden warbler, dipper, redstart and grey wagtail.

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