Description of the Reserve


Baron’s Haugh is an important community nature reserve on the edge of Motherwell (Map Sheet 64 Grid ref : NS755548). Managed since 1983 by the RSPB (present site manager – Gerry McCauley) it comprises 107.3 hectares of richly varied habitats. The main water body (20 hectares) is controlled by a sluice enabling waterfowl to nest in safety and also areas of mud to be exposed for passage waders. The other habitats include marshland, woodland, meadows, parkland, areas of scrub and a section of the River Clyde.

Over 25,000 people visit the Reserve each year – birders, dog walkers and other recreationists. It is nationally important for its numbers of wintering Whooper swans and breeding Gadwall, is a well know site for passage waders and hosts an excellent bird spectacle at all times of year. Five pairs of Nuthatch breed in the adjoining Dalzell Woods.

Everyone is invited to explore the pathways of the Reserve and visit the four hides that are always open and offer superb viewing of the open water area. In rainy or windy weather, you will need protective clothing due to the hide wall openings. Known as “the Lauder Slits”, these were authorised by Alan Lauder, then Reserves Director, in the face of general local protest, this webmaster included. Enter the hides carefully as light from behind the hides now exposes your movements and can disturb wildlife in front. You may meet Stephen Owen who is the current Warden there and his willing band of volunteer workers. Dogs may be off the lead, but should be controlled enough not to invade the Haugh water/marsh area. The main pathway follows the River Clyde which itself holds much interesting wildlife including Kingfishers and regularly seen Otters. Allow at least 2/3 hours for a leisurely circular walk. Following the River downstream provides a fine half-hour walk to Strathclyde Country Park.

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