Caerlaverock Wetland Centre (Dumfries and Galloway)
Caerlaverock Wetland Centre is situated nine miles to the south-east of Dumfries on the Solway coast. It contains many ponds including a Dragonfly Pool, the Lochar Water and a number of hides from which to watch the wildlife. With a number of paths running close to the wetland areas, dragonflies can be seen at a number of spots across the reserve. The site is managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
Caerlaverock reserve is 1,400 acres in size and was set up in 1970 to protect the Barnacle geese which migrate from Svalbard to the Solway Firth each winter. There are 8,000-10,000 Barnacle geese found each day on the reserve during the winter, along with many Pink-footed geese and Whooper swans. There are also thousands of ducks and waders. In the summer birds on the reserve include kingfishers, ospreys, sedge warblers, willow warblers, blackcaps and skylarks. The best spots to see the dragonflies are at the Dragonfly Pool, the Walk on the Wildside from the path next to the Teal Pond and the Back Pond.
The centre is at Eastpark Farm, Dumfries DG1 4RS, just off the B725 and can be found by following the brown tourist signs. Stagecoach service D6A runs from Dumfries; more info from Dumfries & Galloway Council Buses 01387 260383. Caerlaverock is located on the C2C Cycle Route 7 and if you arrive at the centre by public transport or bicycle you can get into the centre with a 15% discount.
The earliest emerging species can be found from mid-April, with the Emperor Dragonflies being on the wing from June onwards.
A free Dragonfly Spotter Sheet can be downloaded here: http://www.wwt.org.uk/uploads/documents/1473861675_dragonflyspottersheet…
The Walk on the Wildside is open from May to August which allows visitors to access different parts of the reserve including a wildflower meadow and the Lochar Water where otters, deer, badgers, hares and foxes are found. The meadow attracts butterflies and hunting dragonflies and has flowers such as Common Twayblade, Northern Marsh orchid, yellow rattle, clover, sedges and rushes.
Image by Laurence Arnold.