Doune Ponds Nature reserve is managed by Doune Community Woodland Group (DCWG) under an agreement with Moray Estates (the land owners) and Kilmadock Community Council. They can be contacted via The Information & Heritage Centre, 61-63 Balkerach Street, Doune, FK16 6DF
Tel 01786 841250
Since the group took over in 2014, the unloved ponds have been transformed. The efforts of all the volunteers have been recognised a number of times and the ponds are now a wonderful asset for the whole community.
In 2017, Doune Ponds were the winners of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards in the Community Woodland category.
In 2019, Doune Ponds was shortlisted for RSPB Nature of Scotland Award.
In 2019, Doune Ponds came Highly Commended in Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards.
The area consists of 40 acres of woodland and water, including an all abilities path network providing easy walking access where you can see lots of wildlife. The site also has some rare fungi (see Liz Holden’s recent Fungal Survey of Doune Ponds – Nov 2020) and wild flowers including wild orchids. Our aim is to improve the visitor experience without spoiling the natural woodland effect.
Full details of our achievements and future plans can be found in the Management Plan 2014 – 2024
The majority of work carried out at the ponds is by a group of dedicated volunteers, who have committed time and energy to making Doune Ponds what it is today. The group meets every Wednesday morning to carry out all manner of maintenance tasks as well as major projects. We also run community weekend volunteering sessions for anyone who would like to attend. Details are published on the Doune Ponds Facebook page
Some of the larger projects have included:
- A new bridge at the west edge of the site.
- Constructing 84 steps up to Lundie Road.
- Demolition of the old jetty and building a new and improved viewing platform.
- A new boardwalk in the dipping pond.
- Re-building and fixing parts of Commonty walk path.
Different areas of the ponds
The Central pond is where you will find our main picnic area and the main hide. This is where most visitors head to get lovely views of the pond and feed the ducks! We would ask visitors, please do not feed the ducks bread, there are lots of healthy alternatives – swan and duck food is available to buy at the local Information Centre, but porridge oats are a good alternative. A big project completed in 2020 was the new walkway out over the pond.
The area around the North pond has been left quite rugged for those who want a more challenging walk. Look out for the waterlillies around August/September time.
There is a small pond at the western edge of the reserve, known as the West Hide pond. This is where you will normally see our resident heron hiding in the reeds. Our swans also use this area to build their nest; it has been a few years since we have had any surviving cygnets. In 2016, four cygnets were born and went on to grow into young adults before leaving the ponds.
The Meadow area is where you will find a beautifully crafted fox bench and in the summer months it is filled with wild flowers (including wild orchids) and butterflies. At the moment Struthers & Scott Vets are also using this area to run dog agility classes.
The Coppice area also known as ‘Kate’s Corner’ has undertaken quite a change over the past 2 years. Coppicing involves felling trees and clearing the undergrowth with the aims of providing a useful product and creating a more diverse habitat. Kate Jessup was a volunteer with Stirling Conservation Volunteers and spent many years working at Doune Ponds. Sadly she died suddenly and as a memorial to her dedication to conservation, her friends and colleagues created Kate’s Corner.
Another large project completed in 2020 with the help of Froglife was our new Dipping pond. This has proved very popular with youngsters over the summer and lots of children have been visiting the dipping pond armed with fishing nets and trays in search of newts, blood worms, backswimmers, pond snails and more!
To ensure that our wildlife and woodlands are protected, no fishing or fires (including BBQs) are permitted at Doune Ponds.
To encourage community engagement and raise much needed funds for the maintenance of the ponds, DCWG have organised various events over the past few years.
There is an annual Easter Egg Hunt, held on Easter Sunday, which has proved very popular. This event is always very well attended by families and we always give out lots of chocolate eggs!
On the Sunday following Doune Gala Day, the Harveys Fun Run is another event that makes use of our new path network as runners follow part of the route through the ponds.
A Family Fun Day is also held in August/September time. There are lots of fun activites including welly whanging, coconut shy, storytelling, willow weaving, bug identification, dog agility and not forgetting delicious home baking and hot drinks.
We have a stall at the Kilmadock Christmas Fayre, where we sell various woodland gifts and our annual calendar.
We also try to organise Volunteer Days throughout the year, to encourage the community to get involved with the work done at the ponds. This is an important element of our future plan as we need the younger generation to get more involved.
All of our events are free entry, however people can make a donation if they wish and these funds will go towards the upkeep of the ponds.
There is a wide range of wildlife at Doune Ponds, it’s not just all about the ducks! See our wildlife gallery below.