Milton Loch and Woodlands is owned by Boat of Garten Community Company and managed by the Company’s Wildlife Group (BoGWiG).
Although all the planned events down at the loch had to be cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic, plenty has been going on. Volunteers have carried out a range of maintenance jobs as part of their daily exercise – mowing, painting the willow sculptures with linseed, strimming, etc and we are grateful to them. The edge of the pond dipping platform had been eroded by water over the winter so that was repaired, thanks to the RSPB for providing the materials and to Andy for putting them in.
Progress on the main dam is slowly moving forward. We have had the stone needed donated by Morgan Sindall and thanks to Lorna Cormack and family we are able to store it at the back of Milton farm until we can do the work. This is on hold due to current restrictions around social distancing and what constitutes essential work. However, a plan is in place, a risk assessment is about to be written and we hope to complete the work in July, weather and water levels permitting!
The badger hide can’t be open to the public (and this is the majority of our income stream) but the badgers have been checked on. The badger who had something caught around his neck is still doing well and looks in a healthy condition.
The woodland and loch have shown their importance to support locals health and well being. It has been lovely to see so many people enjoying it in different ways – picnics, playing, quiet reflection, walking and wildlife watching all playing a big part in helping people at this difficult time. Events that were planned (Teddy Bear’s Picnic, Willow Weaving etc) will be rescheduled once it is safe to do so.
More about the site.
Enjoy a peaceful stroll around the woodland and listen to the bird song. Go down to the dipping pond and hunt for mini beasts. Sit in the hide and see if you can spot the herons and mallards, maybe even the otter. Relax on one of the benches, have a picnic or read your book. Take your time and you may see the roe deer who regularly come down to feed in the woods. However you spend your time here, enjoy it.
Though we do not know exactly when the loch was dammed, we do know that prior to the railway coming in the 1860s, Milton was a population hub, with a watermill and a sluice gate established to control water to the Drumuillie mill. The land belonged to the Seafield estate who gave it to the community council. The land underneath the trees and grassland that we see today was formerly a rubbish dump.
A range of breeding and migrant birds use the site including willow warblers, reed bunting and blackcaps. Treecreepers, blue tits, chaffinches and robins can often be seen in the trees along the pathways. On the loch, look for mallards and tufted ducks, sometimes joined by wigeon, teal and golden-eye. The herons from the heronry are often seen patiently waiting or stalking through the reeds. In Autumn and winter, the loch is an important staging post for whooper swans.
Information provided by John Davison and Steve Goodall.