Glenlude takes part in Chris Packham's bioblitz

TV star visits the land we manage at Upper Tweeddale as part of UK Bioblitz 2018

Chrispackhamandkarenpurvisglenludelow detail

On the evening of 17 July, the campaigning naturalist and BBC wildlife presenter Chris Packham visited the Glenlude estate near Traquair as part of a ten-day ‘bioblitz’ to carry out the first independent  audit of its kind to identify the number of species at 50 sites across the UK.

The goal of the UK Bioblitz 2018 is two-fold: to investigate the extent to which wildlife species are under threat; and to raise money for local projects working on the conservation and restoration of habitats.

Along with Chris and his specialist team, dozens of John Muir Trust volunteers identified 388 species during an intensive survey of the 150-hectare site. Those involved included scientific experts on moths, bats, lichens, dragonflies, sedge grasses, birds and other species.

Representatives from Glasgow-based drug and alcohol recovery charity Phoenix Futures Scotland also participated. The charity has a six-year connection with Glenlude, where participants in its Recovery Through Nature programme have planted and nurtured a new native woodland, the Phoenix Forest.

Chris Packham told the gathering that the bioblitz being undertaken across the UK is about measuring the health of our landscapes: "It is time conservationists came together, unified to think about the bigger picture. We’re not going to agree on everything, but if we agree on 60 or 70 per cent that’s enough. There are things we can do today that will have an impact tomorrow.”

He praised the John Muir Trust, which owns and manages Glenlude, as a “forward-looking NGO” whose “energy for community rewilding gives us hope”.

Karen Purvis, the Trust’s local land manager, said: “We were delighted to welcome Chris and his team to Glenlude and to assist with this fantastic project to get a better understanding of the state of nature across the UK.

"We do our own regular monitoring work focusing on specific species but we’ve found this comprehensive snapshot incredibly helpful – and we’ve already discovered several new species we were unaware existed here. It also gives us a great benchmark to measure progress on the estate, where we have a long-term project to bring back native woodland and its associated wildlife.”

Glenlude bioblitz 2018 - meadow grasshopper

Photos: (top) Chris Packham with Glenlude manager Karen Purvis by Kevin Lelland and (above) meadow grasshopper by Liz Auty.