Whitehill Colliery Woodland
Whitehill Colliery Woodland lies off the minor road between the A70 east of Ochiltree and the B7046 Skares
Grid Reference: NS 529 183 Streetmap.co.uk
Parking: Limited Parking by the access gate at present
access throughout the site with surfaced footpaths. Some slopes may prove difficult
unaccompanied wheelchair users.
Colliery Woodland has a history of deep mining, with an operational deep mine
colliery until 1965. At the time of Nationisation in 1947, it had an output of 104,000 tonnes of coal per year, with a
manpower of 394 and was serviced by rail with loco 42739 running between Dykes Junction and the colliery.
Skares brick works was also situated at Whitehill.
Almost 80% of the site was covered by a 'moonscape' of
colliery spoil following attempts
to wash the bing to recover coal. As a consequence, the ground was dominated by heavily compacted blaes and shale
material with virtually no organic matter content. Whilst the pH of the material was within the range acceptable for
tree growth there was virtually no available nitrogen and phosphorous.
site clearance began in August 2000. Re-modelling and remediation of the barren
bing was undertaken through
2001 and 2002 and the access network installed by the end of 2002.
Woodland planting took place over two phases, in the spring of 2003 and 2004.
Colliery Woodland establishes and matures, further opportunities will arise
to enhance and
diversify the area for visitors and wildlife.
Wildlife of Whitehill Colliery Woodland
summer sees the influx of migrant bird species such as blackcap, willow warbler
and sedge warbler with
their rich and varied sounds while reed bunting can be heard around the wetland areas. The more mature woodland is
home to resident finch, tit and thrush species while skylark, meadow pipit, buzzard and kestrel can be found in the
more open areas.
The open areas
and woodland are at their most vibrant during the spring and summer, with the
glowing colour of red
campion, cranesbills, bluebells, dog violet and wood avens, together with the sweet scent of wild honeysuckle.
and damselflies provide shimmering flashes of colour around the wetlands in
summer, which are home to a
range of invertebrate species.
the rich tapestry of yellows, red and oranges as the trees change colour. The
colder onths bring the
sounds of migrant fieldfare and redwing, descending on berry bearing shrubs and trees and flocks of passing crossbill
noisily feeding in the woodland canopy.
Selected Bird Species:
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis)
Willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)
Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus major)
Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Common Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)
Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)
has been carried out to open up the wetland areas within the site, which was
increasingly chocked by reedmace. Whilst the initial look was quite stark, the habitat quickly settled
down to provide a much more accessible habitat and viewing opportunities while still preserving areas
of seclusion for breeding species.