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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.




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 were 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. Wed 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.

2014 grouse shooting season

There will be no grouse shooting at Langholm Moor this year; more 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 -

April 2014

The spring grouse counts at Langholm suggested an increase in grouse density with the northern part of the moor in particular, holding good numbers.  The overall grouse density, across all areas, was 87 grouse per 100ha after 'distance sampling' corrections. Analysing data from both the counts and also the radio tracked birds, also suggest that the winter survival rates, while still low when compared to other moors, were better at Langholm than in the previous years. Details  can be found here.



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