Flanders Moss NNR
I first visited Flanders Moss not long after moving to the Forth Valley in 1996. I was volunteering as part of a small group of people counting hen harriers going to their winter roost– in the late 90’s there were enough of these very special birds to warrant a team of observers to monitor numbers. Sadly, not the case for several years now…
I was immediately taken with the wildness of the place. A stark reminder of the rough unkempt world beyond the orderly fields that surrounded my house on Thornhill Carse. A damp expanse that was raised above the adjacent, organised, drained land. Rimmed by the Menteith hills and Ben Ledi to the north, the Gargunnock escarpment and Fintry hills to the south, and all the while the conical profile of Ben Lomond rising, imperiously, to the west. It was, and will always be, a very, very special place.
No surprise that I would return and take my paints and sketch pads, to try and convey some of the spirit of the place in pictures, and I’ve been doing the same thing on and off for many years now. If winter would offer the prospect of rare visitors like Merlin or Hen Harrier, then spring was the time that the moss would become alive. Redstarts, Willow Warblers, and Cuckoos would call from the woodland fringe, and Reed Buntings, Stonechats, and in some years, Whinchats would brighten the scrubby vistas. Cotton grass, strewn like confetti, would prove irresistible to paint, and will no doubt draw me back again in coming weeks..
Links to my social media:
Facebook page: Darren Rees Artist