The Wildlife Information Centre

Biological data for south-east and part of central Scotland

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)
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Excursion reports:


TWIC organises a programme of excursions each year, some in conjunction with local recording groups. These excursions are planned primarily to obtain biodiversity data from sites across our region. Priority is usually given to sites proposed as Local Biodiversity Sites (pLBS), as this means that any data generated from the excursions can be used in the site assessment. Recorders of all groups of organisms are welcome. Whether or not you have been on one of our excursions before or are a newcomer you are most welcome to join us.

Please contact the excursion leader beforehand (leaving your contact telephone number) so that they know to expect you. It is rare that we have to cancel an excursion, but should this occur we will endeavor to contact you by phone. Also, please check the website the evening before the outing if possible as any last minute changes will be published here.

Join the mailing list: If you would like to receive notifications of forthcoming TWIC recording excursions by email, please contact and ask to be added to the excursions mailing list. Note that you can unsubscribe from this list at any time by emailing us. Details on how we hold and use your personal information can be found in our privacy policy which can be downloaded from the TWIC documents page.

For information on previous year's recording excursions, please click on the links at the side of the page.

Recorders enjoying a visit to the Carberry Estate. Photograph courtesy of Christine Johnston.

2018 Excursions

Saturday 30 June – Bowden Hill, West Lothian

Site details: Bowden Hill is situated to the west of Beecraigs Country Park in West Lothian (vice-county 84 West Lothian, site centred on NS976744). The site consists of a wooded slopes, crags, acid grassland and marsh with a maximum elevation of 229 m a.s.l.

Leaders: David Chamberlain (British Bryological Society recorder) and Natalie Harmsworth (TWIC). Contact Natalie Harmsworth, e-mail, mob 07833019493

Aim: To record the plants, bryophytes and other wildlife present on this proposed Local Biodiversity Site. The site has already been well surveyed for moths, with several local rarities noted including Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis) and Large Birch Bell (Epinotia brunnichana). Other records of interest include the Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) - recorded here in 2011. Records of insect groups other than Lepidoptera are lacking according to data held by TWIC, so would also be usefully surveyed.

Meeting details: Meet at 10:30am at Cockleroy car park (NS994743, Unnamed Road, Linlithgow EH49 6PN). From there we will walk westwards on to the site.

Requirements: Walking boots/ stout footwear, waterproofs/ sunscreen and sunhat (as weather dictates) and lunch.

Saturday 7 July - The Bush Estate, Midlothian

A joint meeting with the Edinburgh Natural History Society (ENHS).

Site details: The Bush estate is located to the south of Edinburgh close to Roslin in Midlothian (vice-county 83 Midlothian, site centred on NT247636). The estate is large (108 ha) and comprises woodlands, burnsides, ponds and amenity grasslands surrounding the business park.

Leaders: Douglas McKean and Natalie Harmsworth, e-mail, mob 07833019493.

Aim: To update the botanical species list and other wildlife data for the site. We will focus recording in 1 km squares within the site and will keep an eye out for any locally rare or notable species previously recorded. The Bush estate is part of a more extensive Local Biodiversity Site that includes Glencorse Burn.

Previous records of note include the Lothians local rarity Shore Horsetail (Equisetum x litorale) and nationally scarce Wheat Mud Beetle (Helophorus (Empleurus) nubilus). There is also an old record for Stag's-horn Clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum) from 1988. The site is well recorded for mammals and includes records for Water Vole and Otter – the most recent records dating from 2000 and 2015 respectively.

Meeting details: Meet at 10 am at the parking area to the SE of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology building (grid reference NT24616371). Directions: Approaching from the A702 from Hillend, turn left at Easter Howgate onto Bush Loan Road, then turn right at the staggered cross-roads. After the speed humps, take the first left and you will see the parking area. The Bush estate is also served by several buses from Edinburgh city centre. See: Lothian buses for more information.

Requirements: Lunch, outdoor footwear, waterproofs/ sunscreen and sunhat (as weather dictates).

Sunday 8 July - Kippen Common, Stirling

Site details: Kippen Common (also known as Burnside Wood) lies to the south of the village of Kippen, 10 miles west of Stirling (vice-county Stirlingshire 86, site centred on NS652942). The main habitats are broadleaved woodland, species-rich marshy grassland, fen, swamp and an old curling pond.

Leaders: Natalie Harmsworth, e-mail, mob 07833019493.

Aim: Kippen Common is a proposed Local Nature Conservation Site (LNCS). It was previously designated as a Local Wildlife Site by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. We plan to carry out a site survey of the woodland, recording the plants, birds and other wildlife species present, prior to its assessment by the LNCS Steering Group. Previous records include 9 species of butterfly and 5 species of dragonfly. Previous botanical species of note include the local rarities Broad-leaved Cottongrass (Eriophorum latifolium), Greater Spearwort (Ranunculus lingua) and Greater butterfly orchid (Platanthera chlorata).

Meeting details: Meet at 10:30 am at the north end of Castlehill Loan, where it meets the Main Street (B822). There is on-street parking available nearby on the Main Street and also along Castlehill Loan (grid ref. NS651947, postcode approx. FK8 3DN).

Requirements: Walking boots/ stout footwear, suitable outdoor clothing, lunch and sun protection/ waterproofs (as weather dictates).

Wednesday 1 August – Water of Leith - Bonnington to Victoria Bridge, Edinburgh (note that this is an evening outing)

A joint meeting with the Botanical Society of Scotland (BSS).

Site details: Urban section of the Water of Leith between Bonnington Bridge and Victoria Bridge in the north of the city of Edinburgh.

Leader: Natalie Harmsworth, e-mail, mob 07833019493

Aim: To record the riverside wildlife species present following the flood prevention works to enable the assessment of the site as a Local Biodiversity Site. The emphasis of this outing will be on plant recording, but all records will be useful for the site assessment. There are previous records of Otter for this section of the Water of Leith, but no records of fish nor bat (to species level).

Meeting details: Meet at 5:30 pm by the entrance to the Water of Leith walkway at Bonnington Bridge, Newhaven Road on the north side of the river (grid ref. NT259760, postcode EH6 5QQ). We will then head north- east along the river footpath finishing up at Leith. Note we do not plan to return to the start point, so please take this into account when making travel arrangements.

Requirements: Suitable outdoor footwear and clothing and waterproofs (weather depending). Money for fish and chips afterwards at Leith should you wish to join us for food. We plan to finish by 8:30pm at the latest.

Sunday 5 August - Gamescleugh Meadow, near Ashkirk, Scottish Borders

Site details: Gamescleugh Meadows are situated to the east of the small village of Ettrick, close to the confluence of the Tima Water and Ettrick Water (vice county Selkirkshire 79, site centred on NT278143). Habitats include grassland and wetland.

Leader: Sarah Eno, e-mail, mob 07810492286

Aim: We plan to carry out a site survey of this proposed Local Biodiversity Site – recording the plants, birds and other wildlife species present. The most recent plant survey data dates from 1987 – so an updated plant list is needed. Bryophyte records are also lacking along with invertebrate records (with the exception of moths). There are also no amphibian or fungi records for the site on TWIC’s database. Previous records of note in this area include Water Rail (Rallus aquaticus), Bladder-sedge (Carex vesicaria) and Slender Tufted-sedge (Carex acuta).

Meeting details: Meet at 10:30 am. Location TBC.

Requirements: Suitable outdoor clothing, wellington boots, drink and lunch and sun protection/ waterproofs (as weather dictates).


1. For further information please contact the TWIC office (01875 825968) or email

2. Safety on excursions: Anyone attending a TWIC excursion does so at their own risk.

3. Anyone who can assist with transport to excursions, or who requires assistance with transport should contact TWIC who will endeavour to put recorders in contact with one another to arrange matters themselves.

4. The leader reserves the right to change or cancels outings as circumstances dictate.

5. The leader's mobile phone number is for contacting him/her on the day.

6. Records from excursions will be uploaded to the NBN Atlas Scotland.

TWIC is a company limited by guarantee - registered in Scotland No. SC234339. A recognised Scottish Charity SC034113. TWIC acknowledges financial support from Scottish Natural Heritage.