UNESCO Biosphere

The protection of wildlife in Ayrshire

The only UNESCO biosphere in Scotland


Biodiversity and breathtaking views

Glenapp Castle sits in the transitional area of the Galloway and South Ayrshire biosphere reserve. Biospheres are places with world-class environments that are designated as learning sites for sustainable development where communities collaborate to live in harmony with their environment.

The biosphere status has in part been conferred in recognition of the huge variety of birds, butterflies, and other insects which have thrived in the area.

The core of the biosphere lies just to the east around the Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve. A beautiful wilderness which feeds many of the rivers flowing west to the sea such as the River Stinchar: a famous salmon river flowing past the Glenapp estate. For cyclists, walkers, and naturalists the biosphere offers an unrivalled to see the Scottish countryside at its most unspoilt.

Within the biosphere lies the Galloway Forest Park, itself designated as one of only six dark sky parks in the western hemisphere.

A stella spectacular

Scotland has some of the darkest skies in Europe and Galloway Forest Park is one of the darkest places in Scotland which is why it’s the UK’s first Dark Sky Park. So few people live within the Forest Park that the nights really are inky black which makes it a brilliant place to enjoy the stars.

Over 7,000 stars and planets are visible to the naked eye from the Forest Park, and the bright band of the Milky Way can be seen arching across the sky. While we travel round the sun there's a new show every night as we’re getting a constantly changing view of the stars. Which seasonal celestial displays will you spot?

At Glenapp we can arrange for an astronomer to provide expert identification of the night sky from the castle.


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Explore the many facets of our unique castle hotel from the stunning gardens to the sumptuous interiors

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