Mereshead RSPB Reserve

Mareshead Rspb Reserve



Situated on the scenic north shore of the Solway coast MERSEHEAD RSPB RESERVE,  is an extensive wetland and saltmarsh area, a haven for breeding waders, wintering waterfowl and year-round bird and wildlife-watching. Spring is particularly magical, when the wet meadows fill with lapwings and skylarks
is a real Solway gem in Dumfries and Galloway, situated 18 miles from Dumfries. Still a working farm, this reserve boasts a wide variety of different habitats in breath-taking surroundings and wildlife from barnacle geese in the autumn and winter and lapwings and natterjacks toads in the spring and summer. It is a stunning example of freshwater wetland habitats, set adjacent to wide expanses of intertidal sand and mudflats wetlands, woodland, inter-tidal sandflats, the merse, farmland and of course a fabulous beach


Internationally important numbers of Svalbard barnacle geese overwinter at Mersehead up to 25 per cent of the world population. We have secured the site as a refuge for these birds, and now maintain 50-100 hectares of improved grassland for their benefit. Alongside this, we farm spring arable crops such as oat and re-seeded grassland at Mersehead. This has helped increase the number of wintering barnacle geese and other important farmland birds, including skylark, linnet and reed bunting.

We have worked to create and maintain a mosaic of wetland habitats on the reserve, including wet grassland, open water, ditches and reed swamp. This is achieved through managing water levels, grazing with sheep and cows and mowing in the summer. This has enriched the overall biodiversity and increased the number of waterfowl such as teal wigeon and pintail and numbers of breeding birds such as lapwing, reed warblers grasshopper warblers and snipe



Discover the breathtaking scenery and wildlife that's typical of this region. MerSehead RSPB Reserve is set between the beautiful Solway coastline and rolling, heather-clad hills, Mersehead is a wildlife haven, suporting huge numbers of birds, flowering plants and invertebrates. The reserve has excellent facilities for visiting schools, including a new pond-dipping area, visitor centre, hides, abundant wildlife and a variety of habitats to investigate.The RSPB is managing the reserve in order to maintain and enhance its overall biodiversity, and to provide a working example of the benefits of RSPB management.

There are 2 nature trails.  Wetland (3.2 km) and Coastal (4 km) Trails. Wetland Trail suitable for wheelchairs/pushchairs. Coastal Trail not suitable for wheelchairs/pushchairs. On the reserve are a pair of semi-detached cottages, Barnacle and Shelduck, which are open on the reserve for bookings throughout the year. Group bookings welcome and guided walks available, the visitors centre has refreshments and a shop selling Nature Detective equipment for children, wildlife cards and prints. A great wildlife event for all the family the reserve also has parking, toilets and a picnic area.

Open from dawn to dusk every day

Free entrance to RSPB member
£3 car-parking charge for non-members. 


  • Visitor centre
  • Car park
  • Toilets
  • Accessible toilets
  • Pushchair friendly
  • Refreshments
  • Picnic area
  • Guided walks
  • Viewing point
  • Nature trails
  • Shop off-site
  • Play area

Contact Mersehead