Grey Mare’s Tail
The Grey Mare’s Tail Nature reserve is best known for its magnificent waterfall – the fifth highest in the UK – and its uniquely dramatic scenery. The tumbling waters from Loch Skeen high above cascade down the ancient rocks as the features of this incredible hanging valley gradually unfold. The waterfall was sculpted from a succession of Ice Ages and when the ice sheets melted the tail burn was left dramatically hanging over 200 metres above the Moffat Water Valley below.
It is just a short walk for spectacular views of the fall or for the more adventurous there is a clear path all the way to the top which gives some of the most beautiful views in Southern Scotland. You can also see the Tail Burn ‘fort’ which is an Iron Age earthwork from over 2000 years ago and was used to protect the surrounding areas.
The surrounding area forms the Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve, owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The landscape is an open mosaic of heather and rough grazing and is botanically diverse containing the richest group of rare upland plants in Southern Scotland.
During the Religious wars of the 16th-18th Centuries the Covenanters used these hills and valleys to hide away from government troops. The reserve also includes Dobb’s Linn which is a site of world-wide importance to geologists. The name Dobb’s Linn originates from the name of a 17th Century covenanter, Halbert Dobson, who escaped from Government soldiers by hiding under the waterfall in the Linn Branch. In 1864 an amateur geologist, Charles Lapworth discovered at this site that you can discover the age of a layer of rock by studying the fossil graptolites within it. This process is still used for dating similar rocks across the world.
The Grey Mare’s Tail Nature Reserve site is a must see on any visit to Scotland.