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Grey Mare's Tail

Best known for its magnificent waterfall - the fifth highest in the UK - and uniquely dramatic scenery, Grey Mare's Tail is a superb example of a hanging valley.

The area boasts a rich history as well, and is important for its rare upland plants and wildlife.

Situated just 10 miles east of Moffat on the A708, Grey Mare's Tail sits in a dramatic moorland setting below White Coomb (821m/2,694ft, the highest hill in Dumfriesshire). Take a ten minute walk from the car park for spectacular views of the fall, which cascades from Loch Skeen into the Moffat Water Valley from a rocky precipice 60m (200ft) above. Or climb the steep slopes of White Coomb for an even more stunning viewpoint.

You can also see the Tail Burn 'fort', an Iron Age earthwork. Although it has long been known as the 'Giant's Grave' it is not a burial mound, and may be defensive or perhaps even a ritual site.

The site is managed by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). The remote wild mountainous landscape above the waterfall, coupled with its outstanding botanical richness make the reserve one of Scotland's upland jewels.

Admission is free, but visitors are encouraged to support the work of NTS by joining or making a donation.

The NTS run a series of events at the site through the year - find out more from the NTS website or contact Richard Clarkson, National Trust for Scotland Ranger on 07713 786 230.

Peregrine falcon

Visiting the Grey Mare's Tail

Throughout the summer months, you can visit the ranger's trailer where staff and volunteers will be able to give you any information you require about the site. You can also take a closer look at the peregrine falcon's nest through the CCTV link.

There are two pay and display car parks at the site. A hardcore path runs from the main car park across an all-ability bridge to the waterfall viewing area, which has wooden benches. There is also an upland path from the car park to Loch Skeen (allow one hour each way).

Guided walks are available during July and August. School group visits and guided tours can be arranged.

NTS Guide

Download this handy NTS guide to the Grey Mare's Tail and the nearby attractions.

Loch Skeen

Loch Skeen at the head of the Grey Mare's Tail

Loch Skeen's clear, unpolluted water laps on desolate but tranquil shores.

It is the highest large, natural upland loch in the Southern Uplands, sitting at over 500m above sea level. The stark craigs rise over 300m higher.

Since the last Ice Age, a huge moraine has held water in its rock basin. Golden eagles once built a nest on the islet at the south end, but the last one was killed in the 19th century. The loch is now home to Britain's rarest freshwater fish, the vendace - recently successfully introduced as part of a species recovery programme.

Dob's Linn

Fossils from Dob's Linn

Nearby Dob's Linn is an internationally important geological site and is famous for its fossils.

In 1864 an amateur geologist, Charles Lapworth, was working here when he made an important discovery.

He realised that you can discover the age of a layer of rock by studying the fossil graptolites (a type of small sea creature) within it. This site is still used for dating rocks of a similar age from around the world.

The Linn was named after Halbert Dobson, a covenanter who took refuge there.

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