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Ashgrove Loch

Ashgrove Loch is the only mineral enriched mesotrophic loch in North Ayrshire.  The area of open water represents only 10% of the loch: the rest of the loch's surface is covered by a floating raft of vegetation comprised of various high quality fen and swamp vegetation communities.  Stevenston Burn finds its source at Ashgrove Loch.

The loch has been a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1975.  It supports many interesting plant species, including Greater Bladderwart, Lesser Pond Sedge, Tufted Loosestrife and Cowbane.  Breeding birds include Snipe, Water Rail, Grasshopper Warbler and Reed Bunting.  Marsh Harrier has been seen on passage.

In terms of farmland birds, the countryside around Ashgrove Loch is arguably the richest in Stevenston.  In winter, the stubble fields sometimes attract flocks of Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, and Tree Sparrow – the latter species being particularly rare in North Ayrshire.  Woodpigeon flocks of 1000 birds have been recorded in these fields.  A close relative of the Woodpigeon, the Stock Dove nests in holes in the mature Beech and Oak trees in the area.  Pheasants too can regularly be found in this part of the town’s countryside, and Quail, a migratory game bird, has been heard calling.

Yellow Flag Irises in bloom by the loch.

Acres of reeds at the south of Ashgrove Loch.