Welcome to Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere
The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere
What is a Biosphere?
Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere has been recognised internationally as a world class environment for people and nature.
The UNESCO Biosphere designation is recognition of the fantastic array of landscapes, wildlife, cultural heritage and learning opportunities that SW Scotland offers for communities, businesses and visitors to experience and celebrate in a sustainable way.
The Biosphere is special because of its combination of special wildlife areas, superb natural environment and rich cultural heritage. The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere has the Galloway Hills at its core and a rich and diverse landscape, rivers and lochs and a fabulous rugged coastline, it covers about 5000 square kilometres
The Biosphere is a special place for Wildlife and Natural Beauty
With uplands bogs, lochs and tumbling upland burns cascading from the remote rolling hills, to join wide meandering rivers that flow through a mix of farmland and forest to a mixture of rugged coast and sandy beaches the Biosphere really is a place of contrasting landscapes. Supporting a diverse array of wildlife from Ospreys and Golden Eagles to the ubiquitous Red Squirrel which makes its home in the regions forests there’s no doubt the Biosphere is a special place for wildlife and natural beauty.
The Biosphere is a special place for Heritage and Culture
The Heritage and Culture of the Biosphere stretches back from ancient stone circles, burial cairns and carved cup and rings marks through to the birth of Christianity in Scotland, Robert the Bruce and the wars of independence and the more recent remnants of our industrial heritage such as mining and iron works. All of them have played their part in shaping the land and communities of the Biosphere today.
The Biosphere is a special place for Recreation and enjoyment
There is always somewhere you can enjoy the outdoors in the Biosphere. It’s a great place to explore and get off the beaten track to marvel at nature up close. Galloway and Southern Ayrshire offers a wealth of opportunities, from the challenge of mountain biking through the Galloway Forest, to cycling along routes with spectacular views over mountain, moor and sea. The Ayrshire coastal path is one of the finest panoramic coastlines in Britain, steeped in history and teeming with wildlife. The Biosphere is a special place to enjoy.
The Biosphere is a special place for Local Produce
South West Scotland is a place of abundant good quality food, drink and crafts which reflect the diversity and unique character of the countryside and region. One of the best known crops in the Biosphere is Ayrshire ‘tatties’, known for their earthy, sweet flavour. With a reputation for producing high quality beef cattle, including heritage breeds such as the hardy Galloway that have adapted well to living in the upland pastures, and the familiar brown and white Ayrshire dairy cows; the Biosphere offers a special authentic food and drink experience.
The Biosphere is a special place which inspires.
Whether it’s the barren hills and lonely lochs of the uplands or meandering rivers and rugged coast of the lowlands; the landscape and people have fired the imagination of creative minds for centuries. Novelists, poets, painters, musicians, crafts people and sculptors have been inspired by the area which hosts the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. National Poet and one of Scotland’s most famous sons, Robert Burns found his homeland a great inspiration. His work features the countryside he loved, the wildlife he observed and the places he visited, the women he wooed.
The Biosphere is a special place for tranquillity.
From the wilderness of the open hills to the Dark Skies of the Galloway Forest or windswept coastline, the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere has many places to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The Biospheres geography of remote open moorland, serene lochs, quiet ancient oak woodlands, waterfalls and deep gorges and picturesque villages all contribute to its peaceful character, providing opportunities for contemplation and awe.