Map Reference: Map Ref: NX38/70
The Wood of Cree is on the east bank of the River Cree 4 miles (6.5 km) north of Newton Stewart. It is on the minor road from Minnigaff to Glentrool, or from the A714 south of Bargrennan.
The Wood of Cree is in the heart of the Cree Valley and is the largest ancient woodland in southern Scotland. This RSPB nature reserve is now part of the Cree Valley Community Woodland Trust. It is hoped that the Trust will link the fragments of native woodland in this valley, creating a continuous belt of woodland from Newton Stewart to Glentrool. This will enhance the biodiversity of the area and create a greater visitor experience to this beautiful part of Dumfries and Galloway
The reserve supports a whole array of species of wildlife, too many to mention in this short note. To give you a flavour and a feel of the place, in spring violets and primroses give way to carpets of bluebells before the leaves open and provide deep shade. The steep side burns are home to many specialist plants including rare mosses and liverworts. The carpet of bilberry is a sight worth seeing.
The wood supports a wealth of summer migrants and it noted for its numerous pairs of pied flycatchers, wood warblers, restarts, and tree pipits as well as resident species such as barn owl, tawny owl, great spotted woodpecker and buzzard. Dipper and grey wagtail breed along the banks of the tumbling burns that flow through the woodland
The reserve is split by a public road on one side is the main wood and of the other the River Cree. The river valley adds another dimension to an already diverse site. Open water, rich herb fen, tall swamp which in turn creates the perfect habitat for otters, duck, frogs, toads and a range of dragonflies.
The waterside marshes and meadows are home to water rails, grasshopper warblers, reed bunting and sedge warblers. In winter the riverside viewing platform is an excellent site for watching goldeneye, teal, mallard and whooper swans.
Although we are poorly off for mammals in Britain this reserve more than its fair share. Roe and red deer are resident, while fallow deer have been seen on occasions. Red squirrels do occur in low numbers and the rare pine martin has been recorded. As already mentioned otters a regularly seen on the river. Various species of bat occur on the reserve, 8 in total.
For further information contact the local RSPB Office. RSPB Scotland. The Old School, Crossmichael. Castle Douglas. DG7 3AP. Tel:01556 670464