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Lielowan Meadow Reserve is an unimproved meadow about 2.6 hectares in area.

It has a long southward sloping bank which is fed by lime-rich water from the old lime workings adjacent to the reserve.

Because of this the soil which varies from alkaline on the north bank to acid along the wet south boundary, is able to support over 120 different species of flora.

Access to the Reserve

Car parking at the site is limited to around four cars on the grass verge of the B914 Kelty to Saline road (see map).

If more parking is required, permission should be sought from Mr Hunter of Roscobie Farm (telephone him on 01383 731571) to ask if he will allow parking on the farm road.

The safest way into the site is via the path shown on the map. There is also access from the road by two gates. However walking along the busy B914 road can be dangerous. Keep a lookout for traffic as there have already been three accidents at this spot.

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wide view of reserve

Lielowan Meadow

near Saline

NT 090 926
O.S. Sheet 58


The major attraction of the reserve is the variety of plants (over 120 species) which include Sanguisorba minor (Salad Burnet), Carex pullescens (Pale Sedge), and although Platanthera chlorantha (Greater Butterfly Orchid ) has been recorded it has not been seen for some time. Collared Dove and Reed Bunting have nested in the summer and Snipe have visited the wetter areas.

map of reserve and approaches

Historical Perspective

The site was drained using fireclay pipes running from north to south into a large pipe which terminates at the south east corner. And until around 1969, hay was cut annually.

However the drains soon choked allowing the lime rich water to seep out of the bank and spread over the site to the lower south and east. Because of this the south facing bank and the northern edge near the road are well drained and relatively alkaline while the southern and eastern areas where the water collects are wet and acid.

The southeast corner has had to be fenced off to keep the sheep from getting bogged down in this part of the reserve.

The site became an SSSI on January 16th, l990. Prior to this sheep, cattle and even horses had been grazed on the site.

In October 1992 the site was gifted to the Scottish Wildlife Trust by British Coal and since then a regime of sheep grazing, restricted to Spring and Autumn, has been adopted.


wide view of reserve

Since 1993 the site has been grazed with about 30 sheep in Spring and Autumn only, as it is too wet in the winter and the animals have to be taken off from early June until September to allow the plants to seed. The Salad Burnett and Pale Sedge have been monitored annually to try to maintain a healthy population. Some strimming has been carried out to try to stop the spread of the Junctus.

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