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Doune Castle stands on a small hill amongst the woods where the Ardoch Burn flows into the River Teith. The land provides a vast variety of habitats for plants, animals and birds, and there is a short nature trail behind the castle.

How many species can you find?

Red campion

Height: 30–90cm

Flowering from April to July, this common plant is found in woodlands, rocky cliffs, hedgerows and clearings.

It is a favourite with bumblebees and butterflies for its tasty nectar.

Heron

Length: 90–98cm

Wingspan: 175–195cm

Often found perched in rivers, lochs and marshes, the heron is a very large and noticeable bird.

It feeds on fish and it has been known to appear in garden ponds to help itself to goldfish!

 

Oak

Height: 20–40m

An oak tree can live for up to 500 years and is deciduous, shedding its leaves every winter.

It was traditionally believed to have magical properties. Druids were said to practise their religious ceremonies in oak groves.

Otter

Length: 0.6–1.8m
Weight: 7–12kg

One of our top predators – they feed mainly on fish, sometimes frogs and birds.

Hunting otters was a popular medieval sport. Perhaps they have long memories as they can be very hard to spot!

Swallow

Length: 17–19cm
Wingspan: 32–35cm

Swallows are usually seen flying low over open spaces, hunting insects.

They travel far throughout the year, spending winters in South Africa and are seen here from March to October.

They like to be near each other, building their messy nests a few metres apart.

Sycamore

Height: 20–35m

A very common tree, and sometimes considered a nuisance as it grows so quickly. The seeds are dispersed in a helicopter-like pod which is very good fun to throw up in the air.

Give it a try!

Meadowsweet

Height: 1–2m

Growing in damp areas, this wildflower has been popular through the UK for centuries. The plant contains a pain-relieving chemical, salicin, also present in aspirin.

The sweet-smelling flowers were once spread on the floors of houses.