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Cairnsmore of Fleet NNR

Location:Cairnsmore of Fleet, Newton Stewart


Livestock:Various breeds and types of livestock

In brief:Cairnsmore of Fleet, NNR and Farm 1300ha, at 711 meters, is the highest of the so called 'Solway Hills'. Its commanding location overlooks the Cree Estuary, Wigtown Bay with the Lake District, North Wales and the Isle of Man in the distance.

Contact:Andrew Bielinski, SNH

Tel:01671 401074


Blanket Mire with overgrazing and loss of heather and molinia becoming dominant. Heather burn (Muirburn) does not take place because of the proximity to the forest. There are plans to brash molinia in patches. Three fenced areas and three hefts of sheep.

Sheep numbers are being reduced (one heft has already been sold). Feral populations are estimated at Red Deer (80), Roe deer and Feral Goats (300)

Pre FMD Limousin cross cattle were used but SNH now want to use Galloways or Highland cattle. When the Limousin cross were used they rarely moved significant distances away from the gate. This is possibly due to an abundance of molinia in the summer. They would have little need to move. Galloway cattle are the preferred breed and local to the area for reintroduction.


  • The people objecting to the change in grazing practices are using the Edward Hart book “Hefting in Practice” as a reference.
  • The shepherd does not want Hebridean or Shetland sheep would prefer to keep the Scottish Blackface.
  • Does not want cattle – sees them as requiring lots of care and work.
June 2008 sees the start of a three month consultation period during which SNH is inviting feedback on the proposals for the management of Cairnsmore over the next six years.