This issue I am taking you to Glen Moss Nature Reserve; a lovely little walk right on our doorstep. The loop at Glen Moss is quite small, but with areas of woodland, marshland and wetland it is a haven for wildlife and plant species and there’s plenty to see for the careful observer.
History: In the early 20th century the area was used as a curling pond. At the south west corner the club had introduced a sluice which was used to flood the site in autumn for winter curling and skating activities. Despite being drained each spring, the annual flooding resulted in a wetter habitat, and many new marshland plants and animals colonised the area. In 1973 the site was designated as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and in 1991 the Scottish Wildlife Trust negotiated with the landowners to allow the southern area of the site to be treated as a Nature Reserve encouraging public access.
How to get there: From Kilmacolm centre, cross Bridge of Weir Road into Moss Road, right into Gillburn Road and right again into Gowkhouse Road. Walk up the hill on Gowkhouse Lane to meet Glenmoston Road at the top where you will find the Reserve.
Distance and time: It takes about 20 or 30 minutes to walk around, longer if you want to stop and take time to look for species of plant and animals. It is a great walk to do with smaller children; my 5 and 3 year old managed it in about 40 minutes (we carried the small one some of the way).
What you may see: In summer look out for rare wetland plants including the northern loosestrife and mud sedge, which like the marshy areas. The unassuming coralroot orchid can be found growing through the layers of moss under willow scrub.
In these warmer months, the reserve is alive with dragonflies and damselflies. You may be able to spot the Black Darter – a small, quick dragonfly with black legs. Female’s abdomens are yellow; male’s are black and narrow in the middle. The Four Spotted Chaser is larger with a dark bottom and is so named for the marks on the outside edge of each wing. The most spectacular type of dragonfly to look out for is the common hawker, which is around 10cm long from wingtip to wingtip.
Come mid-summer, thousands of frogs are on the move – my kids absolutely loved finding these tiny hopping creatures. In autumn and winter look out for the many species of waterfoul around the ponds. Teal ducks can be heard as they fly around the edge of the water. Keep an eye open for tufted ducks and golden eyes too.
Spring is a good time to look and listen out for the many varieties of birds, including the colourful yellow hammer, the pretty-sounding willow warbler and throaty reed bunting. Whatever time of year you come to Glen Moss, you’ll not be disappointed.