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Whitehill Colliery

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: Formal access throughout the site with surfaced footpaths. Some slopes may prove difficult for
unaccompanied wheelchair users.

Description: Whitehill 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.

Reclamation: 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.

Initial 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.

As Whitehill Colliery Woodland establishes and matures, further opportunities will arise to enhance and
diversify the area for visitors and wildlife.

Reed Bunting Habitat  Wetland areas  East Ayrshire Woodlands Panel


Wildlife of Whitehill Colliery Woodland

Spring and 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.

Dragonflies and damselflies provide shimmering flashes of colour around the wetlands in summer, which are home to a
range of invertebrate species.


Autumn brings 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:

Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)
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)

Recent work has been carried out to open up the wetland areas within the site, which was becoming
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.


Wetland after clearance   Wetland after clearanc

Wetland after clearanc   Wetland after clearanc