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The reserve was a former mine site. A restoration programme set up in 1986 with assistance from Carrick District Council, has now made it a fine example of creative conservation work, with newly planted woodland, ponds and regenerating heathland.

Characteristic wildlife of this reserve.
The scarce blue-tailed damselfly is a delicate species that may be found well away from breeding sites, establishing new colonies. Males of the species are similar to the more common blue-tailed damselfly and these are difficult to tell apart, the scarce blue-tailed having more blue colouration on its posterior segments. Immature females tend to be bright orange. The mature female has a greenish-coloured thorax and black abdomen. Adult damselflies have large eyes and long thin bodies with two pairs of long narrow wings, which are held together at rest, unlike dragonflies, which keep their wings out to the sides. They are predators, using their sharp mouthparts to feed on other insects caught in flight. Their larvae are aquatic and are active hunters.

The grayling butterfly’s elaborate markings, dark brown wings with black eye-spots, make it stand out from the many butterflies found here.

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