The Wood of Cree is the largest ancient wood in southern Scotland and has a history of intensive management. Most of the oak trees show evidence of coppicing which started during the 17th century and continued until the mid 20th century. The wood was virtually clear felled by 1920. The Woodland Management is aiming at returning it to high forest, enhancing the biodiversity and extending the area of deciduous woodland habitat, and developing visitor access. The RSPB has recently purchased land adjacent to Cree Wood and is in the process of planting some 250,000 native seedlings of Oak, Birch, Ash,Alder and Willow. This will create around 670 acres of new woodland and, through sensible management, will significantly extend precious habitat for populations of threatened woodland birds like the black grouse. It will also create a larger continuous complex of native woodland up the Cree Valley.
Cree Wood is host to an important population of Red Squirrel. Pine martens can also be seen in the wood, along with Red and Roe Deer, Barn Owls, seven species of bat and particularly birds, like the Wood Warbler, Redstart and Pied Flycatcher. It is also one of the best places in Scotland to see Willow Tit at the edge of its northern range. Dippers and Grey Wagtails breed along the banks of the burns that flow through the woodland and Herons can be seen fishing while Buzzards soar overhead. The waterside marshes and meadows are home to Water Rails, Grasshopper Warblers, Reed Bunting and Sedge Warblers as well as many species of Dragonfly. In winter the riverside viewing platform is an excellent site for watching Goldeneye, Teal, Mallard Ducks and Whooper Swans.
Very picturesque woodland that is carpeted in Bluebells and Primroses in Spring, streams, glades with nature trails and an Otter viewing platform over the river. There is a car park and picnic area with tables and benches. The RSPB plans to re-establish the natural flood plain along the River Cree to help create areas of wetland that will benefit breeding wading species including Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Curlew - as well as the Otter. Grazing livestock would help to keep these areas in optimum condition for breeding waders, and help prevent scrub from encroaching.
Car: Travelling north along the minor road from Newton Stewart through Old Minnigaff then turn left past Monigaff church and continue along the minor C50 for a further three miles till you reach the car park.
Best Time to Visit:
Spring and Summer for breeding birds and Autumn and Winter for migratory wildfowl.
Dogs are only allowed on public footpaths and bridleways. Visitors are welcome to bring their dogs, provided they are kept under control.
Site Owned By:
Site Managed By:
OS Landranger Map Sheet:
Cree Valley Community Woodlands Trust