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Protected status for Island’s most beautiful glen 25 May 2007

Dhoon Glen in Maughold has been given special protection for its woodland wildlife and habitats, the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry have announced today. “Although much of the woodland has been planted, some may have regenerated from trees on cliffs and crags, and it is probably the most natural of our glens” said Liz Charter, Chief Wildlife and Conservation Officer with DAFF. Native oaks grow on the large rocks at the bottom of the glen, out of the reach of grazing feral goats which can be seen around there.

In May the woodland floor is a sea of bluebells and ferns and the opening buds of native downy birch release a resinous scent making the place quite magical. It was long been popular with visitors having had a café on the beach 100 years ago, with thousands of visitors arriving by sea. In 1905 there was a restaurant at the top of the glen. Now it is easily accessed from the car park or the electric tram stop at Dhoon Halt.

“Having enjoyed The Dhoon Glen as a natural playground when young, I realise what a special place it is. I am delighted that DAFF Wildlife officers are taking these steps to ensure that the Glen remains the very important environment it is, for future generations” explained Dudley Butt MLC (until recently the political member with delegated responsibility for Wildlife and Conservation).

ASSI’s are designated by the Department under provisions contained within the Wildlife Act 1990. ASSI designation is used for the purposes of protecting the most important natural habitat sites on the Island. An ASSI is declared once the Department is satisfied that an area of land is of special scientific interest, by reason of its flora and fauna.

As the site description says ‘Dhoon Glen consists of a series of small, steep tributary valleys and one exceptionally deep glen, notable for a tall and powerful waterfall. The sides of the tributaries and glen have a very diverse assortment of woodland types, ranging from extensive areas of semi-natural broadleaved woodland through to mixed, broadleaved and conifer plantation’.

The plant rarities recorded at the glen include hay scented buckler fern and Killarney filmy fern. Kestrel and chough nest at the lower end of the glen. It is also an exceptionally good locality for diversity of moths on the island.

Once designated, a list of potentially damaging operations is provided to the landowner. These might include drainage work, tree felling or spraying of pesticides, for example. These operations tend to be specific to individual sites. The landowner must notify the Department of any potentially damaging work to be undertaken on the land in question and permission must be obtained from the Department before the landowner commences such work.

Minister for the Department, Phil Gawne, MHK said “I am delighted that the Dhoon Glen has received its ASSI designation. This area will add to other areas on the Island which are of great value for wildlife conservation. Each and every site designated on the Island means another piece of wild nature will remain untouched and safeguarded for future generations.”

The short path in the upper glen remains closed due to a land slip caused by heavy rainfall and high water levels a couple of years ago. Repair work is to be undertaken on the site and the Department is expecting to have this completed in the coming months.

Visitors are asked to remain on the public pathways in the Glen and not to pick the wild flowers. They are also reminded that the cliffs and coast are important for breeding birds. The path down the glen takes you past the waterfall and old mine workings (lead and zinc) and one may return on a higher path if so desired.

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