Be inspired by wild places

Proud Supporters of the Biosphere, East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI), are now a registered John Muir Award Provider and are urging volunteers to take up the challenge. The John Muir Award is a scheme for people of all backgrounds to understand and take responsibility for the environment through a series of activities that discover a wild place, explore its wildness, help conserve it and share the experience. Many of these activities can be achieved by volunteering with CEI. There are different levels to the award based on the time participants commit to activities and opportunities to  demonstrate individual work, leadership and inspiration to others to connect with wild places.

Find out more about the John Muir Award here and contact Jen if you would like to volunteer with CEI;

Kirroughtree is a winner

Kirroughtree Visitor Centre has been awarded top Dumfries and Galloway design award in the 2016 Year of Innovation and Architecture. Designed with sensitivity by jmarchitects the new building successfully provides a welcoming arrival for visitors to the Forestry Commission Scotland facility. The eco-design uses a limited palette of local materials of larch and stone, has big windows to maximise available light and provide views across to Cairnsmore of Fleet and is heated by geothermal energy. It is also designed to minimise light pollution in the Dark Sky Park.

Biosphere supporters, The Cafe at Kirroughtree and The Breakpad, offer refreshments and all you need to cycle in Galloway Forest Park.



Summer solstice celebration

This weekend a series of events are taking place in and around Sanquhar as part of the summer solstice celebration linked to the Crawick Multiverse a major land restoration and art project in Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. The truly inspiring landmark will host the Summer Solstice Celebration that will appeal to everyone from art enthusiasts and scientists to those who want to enjoy a spectacular event on Sunday, 26th June from 12:30 to 18:00.

The former open cast coal mine has been transformed into an outdoor art work that can be enjoyed by future generations. Privately funded by the Duke of Buccleuch and designed by globally-renowned landscape artist Charles Jencks. Crawick Multiverse is a landscape inspired  by exciting discoveries and theories of the universe that connects the themes of space, astronomy and cosmology.

Ballantrae Food Festival

The second Ballantrae Food Festival is being held on Sunday the 12th June at Ballantrae Harbour overlooking stunning sea views towards Ailsa Craig. Building on the success of the first festival you will discover a mouth watering range of STREET FOOD stalls in the main marquee offering tasty delights from stone baked pizzas to a hog roast and browse a wide selection of FOOD & DRINK STALLS selling the very best in local produce. Join in making the ‘Food Festival Cairn’ in the BIOSPHERE MARQUEE or whip up a healthy breakfast using pedal power on Home Energy Scotland’s ‘Smoothie Bike’. From juniper to brown trout – find out about the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and the local high focus species.
A great day for everyone!


From 6th May the week-long Newton Stewart Walking Festival features over thirty guided walks and evening events providing opportunities to explore the Biosphere and its wildlife and history. Several of the bigger walks offer the chance to access the wild heartlands of the Biosphere in the company of experienced and knowledgeable local leaders.

This year there are two evening talks one with Chris Rollie from RSPB giving an illustrated talk on Galloway raptors on Saturday 7th May at 8.00pm and the other providing an introduction to Galloway’s Dark Sky on Tuesday 10th May at 7.30pm. Both events are taking place at the Belted Galloway Visitor Centre.

Business Event Film

A short film has been produced to show how local business supporters of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Charter can benefit from the UNESCO designation. Businesses where invited along to an evening Dark Skies star gazing experience at Kirroughtree in the Galloway Forest Park and there was an opportunity for businesses to make connections and share how their business is supporting the sustainable principles of the Biosphere.

The evening was dedicated to discovering what makes Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere special and having conversations about the best places to go for tranquillity, recreation and enjoyment, culture and heritage, wildlife and natural beauty, local produce and last but not least where to go to be inspired!




Your Views on Plans for Cairnsmore National Nature Reserve

Scottish natural Heritage would like yo hear your views on their plans proposed for Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve in the heart of the Biosphere.

The consultation will run from 11th March – 22nd April 2016. Let Scottish Natural Heritage know what you think by sending them your comments by filling in a questionnaire available at the visitor centre at Dromore or by emailing Scottish Natural Heritage;

Alternatively go along to one of the evening drop in sessions;

Gatehouse of Fleet Community Centre 17.00 to 20.00 on Friday 8th April

Creetown Gem Rock Museum 17.00 to 20.00 on Friday 15th April

Biosphere film launched in Peru

A short film has been screened for the first time at UNESCO’s 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima to showcase the vital role that the sustainable development of social enterprises plays in supporting Biospheres. Presented by Assist Social Capital it will help to inform the UN’s Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves for 2016-2025 which is being developed at the Congress.

Commissioned especially for the UNESCO event, the featurette filmed by JstRoll Media, focuses on the Adventure Centre for Education (ACE). ACE is a social enterprise based in south west Scotland which encourages people to make the most of the natural assets of the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere through a range of adventurous outdoor pursuits including forest schools, bush craft, abseiling, mountain biking, hill walking, canyoning and sea kayaking.

Capturing the stunning unspoilt environment of Galloway and Southern Ayrshire, the video is part of an ongoing international initiative supported by The Scottish Government to demonstrate Scotland’s ambition to be a global leader in social enterprise.


Natural Heritage Actions and Targets

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Natural Heritage team have recently completed our Natural Heritage Management Plan, which aims to provide information on the status, conservation and requirements of High Focus Habitats and Species within the Biosphere.

The next step was to agree actions and targets with input from a wide range of individuals and organisations who have an interest in Natural Heritage across the Biosphere. The event took place in New Galloway at the Catstrand, a Social Enterprise that has recently signed up to the Biosphere Charter.

The event was informative and has certainly provided the Biosphere Team with lots of information to help develop future work.

The Team are still keen to learn of any past, existing or future Natural Heritage projects in the Biosphere that are not already mentioned in the Natural Heritage Management Plan so that we can add to them to the forthcoming summary of projects on the Biosphere website.
If you any suggestions then please contact us on;


Glenkens Men’s Shed signed up to the Biosphere Charter and helped us reach a milestone by becoming the 100th Proud Supporter of the Biosphere.

Based in a building loaned to the group by the owner, the former Smiddy in Balmaclellan has been transformed into a series of well-equipped workshops which have already generated interest from men and women who wish to get practical. It is a place of leisure where people come together to share skills and the activities already range from porridge spurtles  to repairing a boat, building a chair to creating a life-size gorilla – the only restriction seems to be your imagination.

Brian Jones is delighted to have signed the Biosphere Charter and said ‘our men’s shed is a place which contributes to many of the Biosphere principles. It provides a knowledge hub which recycles tools and materials as well as contributing to the wellbeing of the community. Using local resources we are exploring the potential to become a Social Enterprise which will help support the local economy.’

If you are over 50, live in the Glenkens and are interested in being part of this group then please contact Brian Jones 01644 420374