Campsites near waterfalls in Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve

This ever-changing landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh is a paradise for waterfowl.

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Campsites near waterfalls in Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve guide


The dramatic coastal scenery of Caerlaverock, its mudflats and saltmarsh, supports a rich range of wildlife, from birds such as barnacle geese, bar-tailed godwit and knot, as well as natterjack toads, Scotland’s rarest amphibian. Situated where the River Nith meets the Solway Firth, a network of paths with raised boardwalks lead visitors through the reserve and there’s also a viewing platform, picnic areas and a viewing hide. While there are no organized campsites within the nature reserve, private spots sit just minutes away with spaces for campervans and motorhomes.

When to go

Winter is the best time for birdwatching in Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve. From late September to early May, huge numbers of barnacle geese and pink-footed geese arrive from their Arctic summer homes—try to visit at sunrise or sunset for the spectacle of thousands of geese in the sky. During the summer months a variety of open water habitats support invertebrates and amphibians and you may hear a croaking natterjack toad or the sound of rutting red deer.

Know before you go

  • The nature reserve is important for wildlife so visitors should visit responsibly, following the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
  • Keep dogs under control at all times, particularly between March and August during the bird breeding season. 
  • Avoid any cattle you see—they are not accustomed to people so may be dangerous.
  • During high tides, the paths may flood: check the local tide tables, which are displayed in the reserve.
  • The closest bus stop is at Caerlaverock 1.3 miles (2 kilometres) away, on the Dumfries to Caerlaverock route. The closest railway station is Dumfries, eight miles (13 kilometres) away, on the Kilmarnock to Carlisle line.

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