Cults Cottage Self Catering Holiday Home, near Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere is a new UNESCO Biosphere because of its combination of special wildlife areas, rich cultural heritage and communities that care about their environment. Biosphere designation will help people understand, define, sustain and enhance those special qualities. As an internationally recognised label for superb natural environments the Biosphere designation will offer new opportunities for individuals, businesses and communities to demonstrate how to live and work in a way that benefits people and nature.

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere is the first ‘new style’ Biosphere in Scotland and one of only four in the UK. Biospheres have three main functions; conservation, learning /research, and sustainable development. Biospheres are managed by a framework which divides the area into three complementary management zones; Core Area, Buffer Zone and Transition Area. The Transition Area is where people live and where sustainable economic and community development is being actively promoted. Biosphere designation brings no new regulation of activities within the area.

Where are the boundaries?

The area which makes up the proposed Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere reflects the physical characteristics of the natural environment. The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere is based on the Galloway Hills, a water catchment for a large part of south west Scotland feeding rivers radiating out from the upland to the coast.

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere includes river catchments of the Cree, Fleet, Ken-Dee, Nith, Doon, Water of Girvan and Stinchar.

The area’s many small towns: Castle Douglas; Gatehouse of Fleet; Newton Stewart; Wigtown; Girvan; Maybole; Dalmellington; New Cumnock; Cumnock; Sanquhar; Thornhill and their surrounding villages are in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and just as important to its existence and well-being as the National Nature Reserves of Cairnsmore and Silver Flowe and the Merrick Kells Site of Special Scientific Interest which are its Core Areas.

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere features the strong cultural and local identity of the area and a common thread of water connecting the natural environment, landscape and everyone living and working in the area and on which they all depend. It is through water that everyone living and working in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere is connected with everyone else.

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