Galloway Fisheries Trust Logo

Galloway Fisheries Trust

Fisheries House, Station Industrial Estate, Newton Stewart, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland. DG8 6ND
Telephone: 01671 403011 · Fax: 01671 402248 · Scottish Registered Charity No. SC020751

Looking downstream on the River Cree

Brown Trout

Looking upstream on the River Bladnoch

Felling of commercial forestry in Galloway Forest Park

Looking upstream on the River Luce

North American Signal Crayfish

The sandy beach at Loch Grannoch

Belted Galloway Cattle, or 'Belties'

Fly fishing on the River Cree

Murray's Monument

A small upland burn

A stoneloach

The High Cree, looking towards Cairnsmore of Fleet

A small waterfall on the Buchan Burn

A salmon from the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee

Sulwath Connections


Between 2007 and 2011 GFT completed two parallel projects delivering habitat improvements across seven river catchments. GFT was part of a large partnership which completed various projects on the coastlands and river valleys of Dumfries and Galloway named the 'Sulwath Connections Landscape Partnership'. The area this partnership covered ranged from Stranraer in the west to Langholm in the east. GFT, alongside many of the other partners, were working towards this funding goal for over 4 years and were delighted when the partnership was awarded funding under the Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership scheme. The overall budget of the whole project was over £3.9 million for the region, with funding through various partners including significant funding awarded by SNH.

The Whitshield Burn with the hanging culvert removed, Border Esk

The Whitshield Burn with the hanging culvert removed, Border Esk

Projects in the partnership were linked in some way to the landscape and covered such projects as Bruce's Trail, conservation of historic churchyards, riparian and instream habitat management, footpath creation and disabled angling access. The GFT project, Galloway Bankside Habitats, encompassed habitat improvement work on the Piltanton Burn, Rivers Luce, Cree, Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire Dee and Urr. The Trust also managed a project on the Scottish side of the Border Esk entitled the Esk Riparian Management Project with was part funded by the Environment Agency (EA).

Trees and guards on the Crogo Burn, River Urr

Trees and guards on the Crogo Burn, River Urr

The Galloway Bankside Habitats Project, with an overall spend of £185,000, managed to deliver:

  • Installation of riparian fencing on 5 rivers in 11 separate areas, a total of 9650 m
  • Native deciduous tree planting on 2 rivers in 6 separate areas, a total of 1300 m
  • Overshading riparian scrub clearance on 2 rivers in 2 areas, a total of 5000 m
  • Bankside stabilisation on the Luce over a total of 80 m
  • Long term retention coniferous plantation brashing on 2 rivers in 2 areas over 800 m
  • Instream blockage and excessive debris removal on 4 rivers at 6 separate locations
  • Naturally seeded conifer regeneration removal on the Penkiln Burn over 2000 m
  • Geomorphology survey of the lower Urr to assess problematic gravel movement and accumulation
  • Coniferous forestry felling on an inaccessible island on the Cree catchment
  • Easement of fish passage over 2 problematic structures on 2 rivers
  • Coppicing of deciduous trees in overshaded areas of the Fleet, over 2500 m
  • Addition of rock to improve previously dredged instream sections on 2 rivers in 2 locations
  • Installation of 6 interpretation panels on 6 rivers
  • Carried out Salmon in the Classroom project in 11 schools over 3 years
  • Completed pre and post electrofishing surveys at various work locations on 6 rivers

Alterations to the Hagg Burn bridge apron allowing easier fish passage, Border Esk

Alterations to the Hagg Burn bridge apron allowing easier fish passage, Border Esk

On the Border Esk the primary objective of the project was to ease fish passage over 4 problematic obstacles, with the aim of improving passage to sea trout to smaller tributaries of the river. This project had a smaller budget of £70,000 and managed to deliver the following practical works:

  • Easement over a hanging bridge apron on the Whitshield Burn
  • Easement over a stepped bridge apron on the Billholm Burn
  • Easement over an old weir structure on the Billholm Burn
  • Easement over a wide bridge apron on the Hagg Burn
  • Addition of baffles through a long, narrow, sloped culvert on the Hagg Burn
  • Widening of the available channel capacity on a section of the Billholm Burn where the burn had been very restricted by a double wall structure
  • Long term retention coniferous plantation brashing on the Glenzier Burn
  • Installing riparian fencing on the Glenzier Burn, over 880 m

Rock placement in the Coom Burn, Kirkcudbrightshire Dee

Rock placement in the Coom Burn, Kirkcudbrightshire Dee

All this work carried out in the two projects would not have been possible for GFT to complete without the funding that the Sulwath Connections Partnership was awarded from HLF, SNH, the EA and several other contributors. Although GFT did not take on extra staff to carry out this work, which included completing the complex claiming procedures, we managed to successfully deliver the project and believe that all the work carried out was essential and will have helped improve and enhance the instream and riparian habitats in seven river catchments.

For more information on other work in the Sulwath Connections project see www.sulwathconnections.org.

Heritage Lottery Fund Sulwath Connections logo Scottish Natural Heritage

Overshading gorse removal on the Chlenry Burn, Piltanton Burn

Overshading gorse removal on the Chlenry Burn, Piltanton Burn