Carstramon Wood Reserve
If you are looking for a great place to stop whilst traveling in Dumfries and Galloway, look no further than the Carstramon Wood Reserve. This small 90 hectare woodland is the largest of four in the Fleet Valley and it is situated roughly two miles away from Gatehouse of Fleet. The entire region was once covered by beautiful forests such as the one at Carstramon but today only four little woodland clusters remain to remind us of how beautiful the area must have once been. The majority of the trees are roughly 200 years old and were planted from English acorns. The Carstramon forest was continually managed for the production of timber so the replanting of trees was essential to the continuance of the small industry which drew on this resource. This is the main reason why Carstramon was able to survive when trees around it fell by the hundreds. The forest has not really been used for timber since the 1600s and, when a local bobbin mill closed its doors in the 1930s, Carstramon was finally left in peace.
Today you will find a truly delightful cluster of trees where birds from around the world make their home during the summer months. Pied flycatchers, redstarts, wood warblers and willow warblers are often spotted in the canopy of the trees. The forest canopy is dominated by Sessile Oak and their roots are lightly covered by Hazel scrub, Violet, Honeysuckle, Primrose, Climbing Corydalis and Wood-sorrel. Where there is water you will find Ash, Wych Elm and Alder while the marshy areas mainly feature Birch and Ash trees. The best time of year to visit is definitely during the spring (May) when the woodland floor becomes a magnificent carpet of bluebells. The sight is thoroughly enchanting and worthy of a few photographs. You will also find ferns, mosses and lichen living amongst the shade of the trees.
This wonderful variety of flora provides excellent shelter for a number of small woodland creatures such as Red Squirrels. However, the forest is more noted for its birds, butterflies, insects and flowers and its reputation for these is well deserved. So make a stop at the Carstramon Wood Reserve and allow yourself to become enchanted by this delightful natural treasure.