The Saltcot Merse Observatory provides excellent views over the reserve and south over the vast salt marshes to the Solway and the Lake District fells beyond.
This is an ideal spot to watch the thousands of waders pushed in with the tide as well as peregrine falcons, hen harriers and short-eared owls hunting over the merse. In summer ospreys can often be seen perched on driftwood eating fish that they have just caught in the Solway.
This heated observatory with large picture windows looks out over the large whooper pond. In winter it is the scene of the twice daily 11am and 2pm wild swan feeds where up to 300 whooper swans fly in to feed right in front of the windows. The warden gives a talk about the amazing journeys these swans have undertaken to and from Iceland before going out along the front of the building feeding the birds with grain from the famous yellow wheelbarrow. One of these swan feeds is not to be missed on a visit to Caerlaverock, it is unique in Scotland and you can get closer to wild whooper swans than anywhere else in the country, albeit from behind a pane of glass. Mute swans, wigeon, tufted ducks and the occasional pochard and Bewick's swan may also be seen. There is also a tower attached to this observatory, giving great views over the whooper pond, meadow and corner field.This most popular viewing facility is to be totally revamped in summer 2013.
From the top of this three storey tower take in the best panoramic view over the whole 1,500 acres of the WWT Caerlaverock holding, equivalent to 900 football pitches! The largest binoculars in Scotland allow you to see what is going on all over the reserve. Look down on the Folly Pond, the night-time roost of hundreds of whooper swans in winter. In summer watch the house martins dart into their nests clinging onto the tower eaves.
Another three storey tower at the end of the avenue looking over the eastern end of the reserve. The flood ground can be full of ducks and waders and it overlooks some of the best barnacle goose grazing fields on the Solway, right below the tower.
This large log hide with a turf roof gives a great low level, close up view of the Folly Pond. So often the hot spot for rare waders and ducks on the reserve.
Another log hide looking east over the corner field. A favourite for barnacle geese, especially in the mornings and in summer can be covered in lapwings and golden plovers.
The third log hide looking north over the flood ground. With the sun behind you it can be the best place to look for waders and ducks.
We have 13 small hides set into the screen banks of the Avenue and Saltcot Loaning looking out over the borrow pit pools and fields. These intimate one, two or four person hides allow you to get away from it all and enjoy a bit of wildlife watching in solitude.
This new short walk meanders round the wet woodland and has three hides and a screened viewing area. The Newfield Hide looking north over the wet fields, the Back Pond Hide looking east along the pond with the chance of a glimpse of the elusive kingfisher. There is also a large willow screen looking over the wild bird feeding station getting you close to the passerines and odd woodpeckers and nuthatches that flock to the feeders.
This hide gives a different aspect over the Folly Pond, with shovelers, teal and wigeon directly in front.
This viewpoint looks towards the back of the Folly Pond, where curlews and barnacle geese like to feed in winter. It gives a nice view towards Criffel.