Balmae Lake at Kirkcudbright Training Centre in Scotland has been transformed into a wildlife haven following its recent regeneration to increase insect numbers and encourage more diversity of insects within the area. Kelvin Lang, Rural Estate Delivery Advisor, tells us more.

“Kirkcudbright Training Centre is primarily used for infantry training, including live firing, and stretches over approximately 1,900 hectares (4,700 acres) of varied landscape and habitats. 


“The ongoing project to rejuvenate the Balmae Lake region of Kirkcudbright Training Centre is being driven by WO2 Scott Maclean, Training Safety Officer for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), and is designed to return the area to its natural state to encourage insects and other wildlife to return to the area.

“We have removed non-native plant species such as rhododendron, montbretia and bamboo and replaced them with Scottish wildflowers. It is hoped that this will increase insect numbers and diversity of insect species, including butterfly colonies.

“Scrub has been removed to allow more light to reach the forest floor and we have improved the path around the lake and added a small picnic area to encourage responsible public access. Canadian pond weed has been removed from the lake and a new sluice gate installed to allow the water level to be raised to its natural depth, increasing water quality and flow dramatically. WO2 Maclean also plans to reintroduce native fish species, primarily brown trout.

“The work is part of a wider project designed to help Scotland’s native Red Squirrels and increase Pine Marten numbers. Returning the area to nature is a win-win situation, it not only creates a haven for wildlife but also provides local people with an area close to home where they can enjoy nature.”