Ayr Gorge Woodlands Reserve
The forty-hectare Ayr Gorge Woodlands Reserve lines the steep River Ayr valley and is situated in Failford. The Ayr Gorge, which is part of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, is made up of a mixture of plantations and woodland, some of which is semi-natural and the other is made up of sessile oak and birch. On the forest floor there is little shrub to be found, and it consists of holly, rowan and hazel. In spring you can see large bunches of bluebells.
The Ayr Gorge is very steep and was shown, by old maps, to have had woodland all along the gorge. What is interesting about this Gorge is that due to its steep incline it has made the area very difficult to access. This means that the woodlands that are left have been relatively untouched by the human hand, making them very important areas for plants, animals, birds and insects in the Ayrshire area. Some of the birds you can look out for if you are a keen bird watcher are the Jay, Dipper, Flycatcher, Heron, Warbler and Tree creeper. Another feature is the River Ayr that runs through the Reserve and cuts through the sandstone gorge.
If you are keen to visit the Ayr Gorge Woodlands it is suggested that you visit during May and July, especially if you want to view the different birds and plant varieties. Otherwise you will still enjoy your experience of the unique trees that have been around for a long time. The Woodlands are well known for the different birds, insects, butterflies, fungi, mammals and trees.
There are also a number of paths that go through the woodland and along the river and can take one to three hours depending on the route you take. Take note that some of the paths can be a bit awkward due to erosion, so if you have a height problem it is not advisable. Apart from that, a lot of work has been done on the pathways making them usable even during the wet season.