Scotland is beautiful in any season but springtime has to be one of the most magical. You can feel the weather getting warmer on an almost daily basis, greenery starts to flourish and a range of wonderful wildlife begins scampering, chirping, swimming and flying all across the countryside.
With all this excitement happening outdoors, spring is the perfect time to pull on your outdoor gear and explore Scotland’s wonderful countryside. Luckily you’ll find a whole host of great events happening at The Dumfries & Galloway Wild Spring Festival (4 April – 4 May) and The Scottish Borders Nature Festival (14 May – 14 June) that will get you outdoors and keep you busy throughout April, May and June.
Joining forces for 2015, both festivals will combine their events in the Wild Seasons programme, giving you plenty of opportunity to discover the fascinating wildlife and rich variety of plant species that have made their homes in the south of Scotland. You’ll find a huge range of great events running FREE of charge and most are led by local wildlife or conservation experts. What’s more, with 2015 being Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink, there will also be plenty of opportunity for you to sample both areas’ outstanding natural larder at a number of special events.
Some of the great events from this year’s Wild Seasons programme include:
Easter Egg Eggstravagansa
Sunday 5 April 10:30 – 12:30, Logan Botanic Garden, Port Logan
Take the kids for an egg-ceedingly fun day out at the stunning Logan Botanic Garden on Easter Sunday. Explore the grounds of this botanical paradise and watch as your wee ones enjoy having their faces painted, painting their own eggs and taking part in the magical Easter egg hunt.
Stars ‘n’ Stripes Badger Watching
Monday 6 April – Sunday 19 April, 20:00, WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre
Head to the WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre at 8 pm for the chance to see inquisitive badgers at close range. Enjoy a hot drink in the comfort of the centre’s cosy observatory and watch these fascinating nocturnal creatures feeding just outside.
Wednesday 8 and 15 April, 11:00 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 15:30, Castle Kennedy Gardens
Pull on your wellies and pop along to the spectacular Castle Kennedy Gardens in Stranraer where a knowledgeable garden ranger will help you discover a whole host of weird and wonderful creatures. Enjoy arts and crafts in the Ranger Hut before heading to the 2 acre Round Pond to see what you can find living there.
Gardening for Wildlife Course – Bees
Saturday 11 April, 11:00 – 14:00, Mersehead Farm, Southwick
Adults £5, children £2 (RSPB members half price)
Discover how to create the perfect wildlife garden at Mersehead Farm. Join experts from the RSPB for this fun and interactive demonstration and discover the homes you can create for wildlife in your own garden. Learn which flowers will encourage bees and butterflies, plant your own seeds and take away cuttings to plant at home.
Coastal Foraging & Wild Cook-In
Sunday 3 May, 16:00 – 19:30, Carrick Shore, Near Gatehouse of Fleet
Adults £25, children (5-16) £15, under 5s free, family ticket (2A+2C) £65
Find and identify edible coastal and maritime plants on a 2.5 hour walk at Carrick Shore. Covering about 1 mile, this family-friendly walk will teach you all there is to know about the area’s hedgerow plants, seaweeds and shellfish. Enjoy wild treats and tasters throughout before settling down for the grand finale – the al fresco cook-in of your finds and some wild food from further afield.
Introduction to Wildlife Recording
Saturday 16 May, 10:00 – 15:30, Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre
Do you enjoy getting out and about and watching the wildlife around you? Make your wildlife observations count with this FREE practical workshop run by The Wildlife Information Centre (TWIC). Learn all the wildlife recording essentials at this fantastic introductory event, which includes an outdoor identification session.
Rocky Shore Safari: Coldingham Bay
Thursday 21 May, 10:30 – 12:00, St Vedas Hotel, Coldingham Bay
Pull on your wellies, grab your net and bucket and head to the beautiful Coldingham Bay, where the European Marine Site Officer will take you on a fascinating, and FREE shore safari, teaching you about the tides, shore zonation and the wonderful marine life that lives on this sandy stretch along the way.
Friday 22 May, 10:00 – 12:00, RSPB Wood of Cree Reserve, Newton Stewart
Adult £4, child £2, family (2A + 2C) £10, RSPB members half price
Pop along to the beautiful RSPB Wood of Cree Reserve – the largest ancient woodland in southern Scotland – and join the RSPB warden on a fantastic woodland walk to see the reserve’s gorgeous carpets of bluebells in all their glory. Enjoy the sweet sounds of birdsong that fills the forest as you breathe in fresh Scottish Borders air.
Saturday 6 June, 09:00 – 11:00, Whitmuir the Organic Place, West Linton
Tuck into a breakfast of delicious local produce from the Whitmuir farm shop and watch as the overnight moth traps are opened. Help to identify the different species before you watch the moths flutter away into the wild.
Food Foraging and Remedies
Sunday 07 June, 14:00 – 16:30
Abbotsford Estate, Melrose
Head to Abbotsford Estate, former home of the iconic Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott, and join professional forager and herbalist, Ali Murfitt, on a food foraging journey through the estate. Abbotsford is home to over 200 plant species, some of which were taken as herbal remedies by Sir Walter Scott himself. At this event you’ll learn the dos and don’ts of foraging and even have a go at making some remedies yourself.