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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 September 2006, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
Clyde woodlands expansion plans
Clyde Valley National Nature Reserve/Pic: SNH
The Clyde Valley reserve is described as a wildlife haven
Plans to more than double the size of a nature reserve in Lanarkshire have been approved by Scottish Natural Heritage.

The current Clyde Valley National Nature Reserve covers 68 hectares between Hamilton and New Lanark.

It includes rare gorge woodlands made up from remnants of forests which once covered much of south and central Scotland.

SNH has now backed proposals for four additional woodland sites, totalling 139 hectares, to add to the reserve.

Valuable asset

These consist of woodlands owned by the Scottish Wildlife Trust at Falls of Clyde and Nethan Gorge, and land owned by South Lanarkshire Council at Hamilton High Parks, Avon Braes and Mauldslie Woods.

SNH's director for the west of Scotland, John Thomson, said: "National nature reserves are very special places where local people and visitors alike are encouraged to enjoy some of the absolute best of Scotland's natural heritage.

"The Clyde Valley woodlands are particularly valuable because they are on the doorstep of such a high proportion of the country's population.

"The great experience that they have to offer matches that available in other, perhaps better known but far more remote areas."

The Scottish Wildlife Trust also welcomed the announcement as "joined-up thinking leading to joined-up action" to protect one of the best wildlife havens in the south of Scotland.

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