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Case Studies > Muir of Dinnet NNR


Case Study Muir of Dinnet NNR Dinnet
Case Study Muir of Dinnet NNR The Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve (NNR), centred around the Burn O'Vat visitor centre, is owned by Dinnet and Kinord Estates and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The NNR was established in 1977 as the Silver Jubilee Reserve in honour of The Queen's Silver Jubilee, and opened by HRH Prince Philip. The Estate owner at the time, Marcus Humphrey, had already created laybys and installed a toilet block to enable more people to enjoy this beautiful area.

The NNR is an increasingly popular destination and is used daily by walkers, joggers, families and dog-walkers, who use the circular walkways around Lochs Kinord and Davan. The NNR can be accessed by the Visitor Centre, and an additional carpark can be found in Dinnet Village with disabled access.

Muir of Dinnet is famous for its heather/bearberry moorland, rich biodiversity including a new Native Pinewood, and is steeped in history. Castle Island on Loch Kinord is said to have been the site of a wooden "peel" tower, used by King Malcolm III as a hunting lodge in the 11th century, and nearby is an intricately carved stone cross said to date from the 9th century. This marks the spot where King Malcolm's wife Queen Margaret, later Saint Margaret, had a small chapel. Not far from Castle Island is what looks to be a much smaller island but is in fact a 9th century Pictish crannog.

The area between the two lochs contains extensive remains of two Iron Age settlements. The remains of a mediaeval moated homestead, allegedly the "Ha' Hoose O' Bellastrad", were found on the north shore of Loch Davan. It is believed that this is where Sir Andrew de Moray had his headquarters during the Battle of Culblean, which was fought on 30th November 1335. The battle was fought between forces loyal to the young King David and Scotland's Guardian Andrew de Moray, and those loyal to Baliol and the Earl of Atholl.

Although small in terms of scale and men, the battle is credited with being the last in the Wars of Independence and ended Baliol's claim to the Scottish Throne. The attack was carried out on pro-Baliol forces stationed on Culblean during the night, and is thought to be the first recorded night attack in British military history. Andrew de Moray had sent a flanking party which took Baliol's men by surprise, Atholl himself was killed and his men melted away back to Perthshire.

The Battle is commemorated by a standing stone on the road near the Visitor Centre. Commenting on the importance of the area the current owner Edward Humphrey said: "It is a privilege to own a part of Scotland that is of such historical and conservation importance. We work closely with SNH who manage the NNR, as well as with the local community. I am proud that locals use the Estate as part of their daily activities, and I am delighted that we are also dong our bit for tourism on Deeside".

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