Lying in a remote valley with reminders of a historic past

Habitats: Woodland, wet and dry grassland, flushes and a stream.

Notable species: Lemon scented fern, heath and common spotted-orchid and aspen.

Description: Sitting in the remote valley of Glen Dhoo near the confluence of tributary streams, the reserve is surrounded by the steep slopes of Slieau Curn, Slieau Dhoo and an area of Ballaugh Plantation.

Lemon-scented fern is found along the river. Hen harriers, ravens, stonechats and linnets breed in the area, peregrines frequent the valley and herons have also been recorded along the river.


Glen Dhoo means black or dark glen, appropriate when late in the day Slieau Curn casts its shadow. High on the hill slopes are hut circles, from the time when animals were taken to high pasture for the summer.

The tholtan, or old house, within the reserve is a reminder of the small farming community which still occupied this remote glen in the late nineteenth century. Beyond the top boundary are the remains of a water mill and dam. The river at the tholtan is bridged by a long flagstone, typical of the old river crossings in the parish of Ballaugh.

Management: The boundary of the reserve has been fenced to allow grazing to take place and the site divided into a number of compartments where different management takes place. A large proportion of the upper slopes have been taken over by gorse and bracken and as the slopes are too steep for machine access, these are largely left unmanaged at present.

On some of the lower slopes gorse and bracken are being controlled by various means including cutting, digging out, chemical sprays, and mechanical removal and grazing, usually sheep but occasionally cattle. These meadows are steadily being returned to upland grassland.

The aspen growing on the slopes of the small tributary stream have been fenced off to protect them from grazing. A number of native shrubs including rowan, hawthorn and rose have been planted in some parts of the reserve.

Species and habitats

Grassland, Woodland

Nearby nature reserves

2 miles - Manx Wildlife Trust
Close Sartfield
3 miles - Manx Wildlife Trust
Cronk y Bing
7 miles - Manx Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Glen Dhoo valley
Isle of Man
Map reference
Great for...
getting away from it all
historical interest
Best time to visit
Apr - Oct
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Open at all times
9.40 hectares

The reserve is a mile along a green lane (Bayr Glass) which starts just below the plantation car park and runs roughly parallel with the river
Walking information
A public footpath runs through the reserve, terminating at the tholtan a little higher up the valley
In Ballaugh plantation car park
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Tricia Sayle, Reserves Officer
Tel: 01624 844432