white horse logo

Feeding station by the visitor centre window with a gold finch, green finch, 3 male house sparrows & 2 female house sparrows
Feeding station by the visitor centre window with a gold finch, green finch, 3 male house sparrows & 2 female house sparrows

Menu:

National Parks

| 2001 walks | 2002 walks | 2003 walks | 2004 walks |
| 2005 walks | 2006 walks | 2007 walks | 2008 walks |
| 2009 walks | 2010 walks | 2011 walks | 2012 walks |
| 2013 walks | 2014 walks | 2015 walks | 2016 walks |
| 2017 walks | 2018 walks | 2019 walks | 1993-2000 library |
Find a Route | A few Routes to print out | Request a Route...|

Route No. 741 - Tuesday 25 September 2018
Mersehead RSPB Reserve circuit - 5km
Solway Firth, Dumfries & Galloway,
Scotland . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 313 Dumfries & Dalbeattie


Path from the car park to the visitor centre at the RSPB Mersehead Reserve
Path from the car park to the visitor centre at the RSPB Mersehead Reserve

spacer spacer

Lane from the visitor centre to the farmstead at Mersehead
Lane from the visitor centre to the farmstead at Mersehead

The volunteer warden on duty today was very helpful. He told us that the first small flock of Barnacle Geese had just arrived migrating here for the winter from Iceland. There would soon be thousands of them here. From the visitor centre we set off along the lane heading to the farmstead at Mersehead.

My wife and I are having a holiday in Scotland staying a few days at several locations. Just now we are staying for a few days near the town of Castle Douglas. Today we drove a few kilometers south to the RSPB reserve at Mersehead on the coast of the Solway Firth. We parked in the visitor centre car park at map ref. NX 925 562. We crossed the lane between the car park and the visitor centre.

Reaching the farmstead at Mersehead
Reaching the farmstead at Mersehead


Start of the path on our left to the Bruaich Hide

Path to Bruaich Hide
Path to Bruaich Hide

Nearing Bruaich Hide
Nearing Bruaich Hide

A Barnacle Goose
A Barnacle Goose

The geese were some distance away about at the limit of my little point & click camera but I managed to get a couple of grainy photos of the Barnacle Geese. From the Bruaich Hide we returned to the lane at the Mersehead farmstead.

Opposite the farmstead there is a finger post indicating the footpath to the Bruaich Hide. We turned left here and followed the path for about 400m to the hide. There were half a dozen knowledgeable bird watchers already there and they showed me which direction to look to see a small group of Barnacle Geese amongst a large flock of Pink Footed Geese.

Path to Bruaich Hide
Path to Bruaich Hide


Four Barnacle Geese in a flock of Pink Footed Geese
Four Barnacle Geese in a flock of Pink Footed Geese

Track from Mersehead farmstead heading south east
Track from Mersehead farmstead heading south east

Nearing the left turn to Meida Hide
Nearing the left turn to Meida Hide

Footbridge to Meida Hide
Footbridge to Meida Hide

Part of a large flock of Pink Footed Geese
Part of a large flock of Pink Footed Geese

At the Meida Hide we saw no more Barnacle Geese but there were a great many pink footed geese, some ducks feeding and a few Canada Geese. From the hide we returned to the lane and crossed the lane to a footpath on the opposite side heading along the woodland strip towards the beach.

From the farmstead we continued heading south east along the lane. After about 600m we came to a strip of woodland crossing the lane. There was a finger post here indicating the path to our left along the strip of woodland for about 400m to the Meida Hide. We turned left here and followed the path to the hide.

Start of the path through the woodland to Meida Hide
Start of the path through the woodland to Meida Hide


Canada Geese preening by the lake
Canada Geese preening by the lake

View of the lake from Meida Hide
View of the lake from Meida Hide

Start of the path through the woodland towards the beach
Start of the path through the woodland towards the beach

Autumn fungus on a tree stump
Autumn fungus on a tree stump


Woodland path heading for the beach

The sand here on the dunes was very dry and was being blown around stinging our faces. We had to shield our eyes as we crossed the dunes to the beach, but once we were on the beach it was much better and the sand driven by the wind stayed low to the ground.

We followed the path through a very pretty strip of woodland towards the beach. There was a gusty wind today but we were quite sheltered in the trees. At the end of the woodland we came out at the back of the sand dunes next to the beach.

Woodland path heading for the beach
Woodland path heading for the beach

Woodland path heading for the beach
Woodland path heading for the beach

Looking back along the path from the sand dunes
Looking back along the path from the sand dunes

Path across the sand dunes to the beach
Path across the sand dunes to the beach

Path from the sand dunes down to the beach
Path from the sand dunes down to the beach

Beach covered in sun-bleached cockle shells
Beach covered in sun-bleached cockle shells

Heading across the grassland from the base of the dunes
Heading across the grassland from the base of the dunes

We followed this path to some grassland behind the dunes and continued along a well defined path across the grassland. We came to a corner in a post and wire fence and followed the path to our right around the corner of the fence.

At the beach we turned right and walked westwards along the beach with the sand dunes on our right. After about 750m along the beach we came to a prominent finger post indicating a path to our right through the dunes.

Path along the beach
Path along the beach

Path through the dunes to the grassland beyond
Path through the dunes to the grassland beyond

Track across the grassland
Track across the grassland

Following the path round a corner in the post & wire fence on our right
Following the path round a corner in the post & wire fence on our right

Gate across the farm track we were following
Gate across the farm track we were following

Joining the lane at Mersehead Cottages
Joining the lane at Mersehead Cottages

Lane from Mersehead Cottages back to the visitor centre
Lane from Mersehead Cottages back to the visitor centre

There was a bird feeding station by the visitor centre window at the back of the building and as we drank our coffee, we watch a great many small birds flying in to feed. It was a very pleasant end to our visit to the Mersehead Reserve. We had walked a total of a little over 5km and it had taken us around 2 hours including brief stops at the two birdwatching hides where we could easily have spent much longer.

The path became a clear farm access track and we continued along the track for about 900m to the lane at Mersehead Cottages. At the lane we turned right and passed along the lane in front of the cottages. We walked along the lane for about 200m back to the visitor centre car park. After our walk we went into the visitor centre and had a coffee, nothing fancy, just instant but quite welcome all the same.

Track between the fields heading for Mersehead Cottages
Track between the fields heading for Mersehead Cottages

Lane at Mersehead Cottages going back to the visitor centre
Lane at Mersehead Cottages going back to the visitor centre

Bird table by the window of the visitor centre
Bird table by the window of the visitor centre

RSPB Visitor Centre at the Mersehead Reserve
RSPB Visitor Centre at the Mersehead Reserve

Top of Page