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30 May, 2014

Loch Leven celebrates 50 years

One of Scotland’s most popular national nature reserves (NNRs), Loch Leven, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a free, fun-filled event on 8th June.

Loch Leven is Scotland’s largest lowland loch and one of the most important sites for waterfowl in Britain. Its unique environment attracts not only the largest concentration of breeding ducks anywhere in the UK, but also many thousands of migratory ducks, geese and swans every autumn and winter, as well as boasting an interesting variety of wildlife, plants and trees.

Discovery Day on Sunday, 8 June, will offer plenty of activities to celebrate the anniversary, including kids’ and craft activities, fly-casting and willow-weaving for all ages, story-telling, clay face modelling and lots of wildlife and nature displays. This year, there are also special art displays from a volunteer illustrator. Visitors can also learn more about what Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) does to manage Loch Leven, and how SNH works with the many other organisations attending to make this a great place for people and wildlife.

Neil Mitchell, SNH Loch Leven reserve manager, said:

“We hope plenty of folk will swing by Kirkgate Park to help us celebrate our 50th anniversary. You can make your own fridge magnet, take away a badge depicting your favourite Loch Leven animal or explore history in a box. Or why not find out what makes Loch Leven such a fantastic place for wildfowl by looking through a microscope at some of the smaller inhabitants of the loch? There’s something for everyone to enjoy, especially the kids!”

Discovery Day takes place on Sunday, 8 June, from 12 noon to 4pm at Kirkgate Park, Kinross.

Another celebration will take place on 1 June, as those closely involved with the nature reserve over the past 50 years get together to look back over the changes which have taken place since the reserve was first declared in 1964 – at the height of Beatlemania! Sir David Montgomery, who signed the nature reserve agreement in in 1964 and SNH’s chief executive, Ian Jardine, will reflect on the changes the loch has seen in the last 50 years. They will be joined by SNH staff, old and new, along with others from Kinross Estate Company and the many partner organisations that SNH has worked closely with over the last 50 years. This has included a world-wide international biological monitoring programme started in 1967 and led by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), which makes Loch Leven one of the most studied freshwaters in the world.

Neil added: “We’re looking forward to the next fifty years working with all of our partners on this internationally renowned and well-loved nature reserve.”

Dr Linda May, a Freshwater Ecologist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said: "Loch Leven is part of our long-term monitoring programme and we have data from the loch that spans most of the last 50 years. Lessons learned here have been applied to the management of other lakes across the world. We hope to continue working with SNH other stakeholders, here, for many years to come."

Also joining in the celebrations is Loch Leven’s Larder, which will have special nature reserve celebration cakes available in their café.

Loch Leven was first declared a NNR in 1964 by agreement with the owners of the Loch, Kinross Estate. In 2002, the NNR was re-declared and extended to include the RSPB's land along the south side of the loch. Loch Leven has a number of conservation designations, including a Special Protection Area (SPA), a Ramsar site for its wetlands and bird interests, and a Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) for birds, plants and insects. About two-thirds of the shore is also classed as an Area of Great Landscape Value.

Notes to editors

Loch Leven National Nature Reserve is one of about 50 NNRs in Scotland. NNRs are special places that look after some of the best of Scotland’s nature on behalf of everyone who lives or visits Scotland, and they provide unique opportunities to visit, enjoy and learn more about Scotland’s nature. For more information, see

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NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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Loch Leven - mute swans

Loch Leven - mute swans

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