From 1999 to 2007 there was no grouse management at Langholm - apart from some muirburn and limited predator control associated with a nearby partridge shoot. Most of the moor is grazed by sheep. The project is re-instating grouse management, aiming to re-establish a driven grouse shoot so that the nature conservation objectives for the site can be acheived.

The Langholm-Newcastleton Hills SSSI and SPA comprises approximately 7,600 hectares of upland moor between the towns of Langholm and Newcastleton. The site is partly in the Scottish Borders and partly in Dumfries and Galloway. The vegetation is dominated by blanket mire, heather, and species-poor acidic grassland. There are small areas of broad-leaved wood associated with some streams. The hen harrier is the SPA qualifying feature. The notified features of the SSSI include the assemblage of upland habitats (including heather moorland, blanket bog, dwarf shrub heath, upland grassland, woodland and flushes), aggregations of breeding birds, and geology (Carboniferous-Permian igneous).

Heavy grazing pressure has reduced the extent and quality of the heather. Improving and restoring that cover will involve heather burning, heather re-seeding, bracken control, blanket bog management and shepherding. Heather burning will continue to create a mosaic of different aged plots of heather.

The project aims to restore the heather moorland habitat at Langholm to meet the favourable condition requirements for the SPA/SSSI.

  • For more information on heather restoration and management, please visit the Scottish Government website here and the GWCT website, here

  • For further information on moorland grazings on uplands and peatlands, visit the Scottish Government website here

  • More details on bracken control can be found here at the Bracken Control website. A downloadable guide to best practice on bracken control can be found on the SNH website, click here to view.

  • Follow this link to view the Muirburn Code.

  • Further information on moorland species and management of such can be found at the British Trust for Ornithology website (BTO) here.


Muirburn spring 2013