spacer spacer


This is the website of the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project, a partnership between Buccleuch Estates, Scottish Natural Heritage, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Natural England.

More project details can be found here.




State of the UK's Birds 2015 report

The 2015 State of the UK's Birds report has been published. It notes the success at Langholm in hen harrier and black grouse conservation, which have both shown large gains on the moor, and cites the work of the gamekeeping team and efforts to reduce the grazing impacts on heather moorland as leading reasons for this good news.

Langholm-reared hen harrier found dead

A female hen harrier raised on Langholm Moor and which was known as Annie has been found dead. The harrier was satellite tagged on Langholm in June of last year, by Natural England, a partner in the Langholm Project. Since the loss of a consistent tag signal in mid-March 2015, the search, led by Police Scotland, has focused on an area over 40km to the north west of Langholm Moor. We are disappointed to learn that the bird appears to have been shot and we offer what help we can to the investigation. This is especially disappointing news as the project has had so much success over the last eight years, fledging over 100 hen harriers from Langholm.

Harrier news

The year that summer forgot appears to have taken its toll on Langholm’s harriers as well as other wildlife this year. In contrast to the 12 nesting female harriers in 2014, in 2015, eight female hen harriers nested on Langholm Moor. Two females failed, one before laying and the other one during incubation, probably due to the bad weather. The remaining six females (of which one had a replacement clutch after the failure of the first clutch), all of which were diversionary fed, fledged a total of 17 young (broods sizes between 1 and 5), which were all fitted with BTO and colour rings. One male chick was additionally fitted with a satellite tag, its progress can be followed as usual here.

Seasonal update – black grouse and harrier news

We saw an increase in lekking males in 2015Many birds seemed to have been delayed by the recent spell of cold and wet weather, but the first harrier chicks have also hatched in the last week. There are currently five active nests but we’re expecting more to come. Neither did the dreich slow start to the year dissuade the black grouse from lekking. During the April and May counts, we saw an increase from 18 males on leks in 2014 to 29 males in 2015.

Which is more attractive: the chick or the egg?

MSc student Kathryn Fingland, who studied red grouse nesting success at Langholm in 2014, has published her observations on a red grouse clutch desertion. Reproduced here with permission of British Birds. Read more.

Spring 2015 red grouse counts complete

Red grouse (copyright: Laurie Campbell)Read more here.

Hen harriers, buzzards and 2015 research

An update on harrier wintering and tagging, buzzard research and the summer 2015 fieldwork programme at Langholm Moor. Further information can be found on the news page.

Black grouse on the increase

Black grouse are increasing at Langholm in number but more importantly in range. Black grouse are regularly seen on areas that have treated with glyphosate, chopped and re-seeded with heather. One of these areas has a power line running through it, which has sadly resulted in the death of two greyhens and two black cock from hitting the power lines. The good news is that Sottish Power have fitted reflectors along the worst stretch of cable and the black grouse are still present. We’d like to thank Scottish Power for their help with this.

Seven Year Review

See here for more information about the Seven Year Project Review.

2014 Raptor Monitoring Report

The 2014 report on which and how many breeding raptors there were at Langholm this year is available here.

Position Statements for project up to 2013

We have developed statements summarising progress to date. More details can be found here.


We've been on BBC Springwatch...

...and on ITV Border's 'Border Life' programme -



Upland moors of heather and blanket bog are important for nature conservation, landscape and recreation. Grouse shooting, as well as supporting the rural economy in the uplands, has helped to retain heather by holding back plantation forestry and, less successfully, over-grazing by sheep. Grouse moors are good areas for breeding waders like curlew and golden plover, but are poor for some birds of prey like the hen harrier.

On grouse moors breeding hen harriers can kill many grouse chicks and so they are still not tolerated on many moors, in spite of legal protection.

Langholm Moor was the main study site of the Joint Raptor Study (1992-1997) which measured the effect of hen harriers and other raptors on red grouse numbers. This study's report, and subsequent published research papers, document this.

Subsequently Langholm Moor became part of the Newcastleton Hills Special Protection Area (SPA) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which are notified principally for the hen harrier population.

The Langholm Moor Demonstration Project is a partnership between the moor owner, Scottish and English conservation agencies, and conservation and research charities. It is an outcome for Scotland's Moorland Forum and will link with the Environment Council discussion on reconciling bird of prey conservation with grouse shooting.


Red grouse