Brownside Braes

Photograph of grassy hillside with gorse and hawthorn scrub in flower.
Brownside Braes

Location and access

Brownside Braes lies on the eastern part of the Gleniffer Braes Country Park and is located between Paisley and Barrhead on the B774 Caplethill Road.

Cycle: The Paisley to Barrhead cycle path runs past the entrance to Brownside Farm.

Bus: services from Paisley and Barrhead are regular and both bus stops are located at the Brownside Farm entrance.

Car: Access to this site is very easy with good parking at Brownside Farm.

Old farm buildings with rusty iron roofs and hawthorn trees with red berries in foreground.
Brownside Farm
Photograph of two birds perched in a tree with red berries
Fieldfare and Redwing on Hawthorn
Brownside track
Dark purple berries on thorny branches.
Sloes at Brownside

Getting around

The main pathway to Brownside Braes is well signposted and leads south past the farm and gently meanders uphill to the 150 metre contour line. Spectacular views over Paisley and Glasgow to the rugged northern horizon are well worth the effort.


Brownside Braes is a mixture of pastoral farmland with distinct tracts of dense hawthorn scrub which attract a wide variety of bird species. Over 85 bird species have been recorded within a 1km², of which an amazing 60+ have also bred. Most birdwatchers will know that this was the best place in Renfrewshire to see the rare Lesser Whitethroat. In the past twenty years there have been 2-3 territories and after a recent absence of six years where no breeding birds were located, a pair was seen feeding young in 2009. PNHS members are involved in monitoring for the Lesser Whitethroat and a scrub enhancement programme at Brownside for the Lesser Whitethroat.

Spring is the best time to visit Brownside Braes, as most of the songbirds are holding territory. Other common warbler species also breed here in good numbers with Willow Warblers peaking at around 35+ pairs and 6-8 pairs of Common Whitethroat. Sadly, this place no longer holds any breeding Yellowhammers. Brownside Braes was a well-known county stronghold for this species, for up to 12 pairs regularly bred here. During the winter months, Fieldfares and Redwings gorge themselves on the berry laden hawthorn crop. Look out for Short-eared Owl quartering the upland grazing and Woodcock too are occasionally seen.

Other Birdwatching Sites nearby
  • Dykebar
  • Thornley Dam
  • Glenburn and Harelaw Reservoirs
  • Gleniffer Braes Country Park

Other information

The Cross Stobs Inn is within walking distance and is a popular local pub serving good food and real ale. Located on the junction of Grahamston Road and Caplethill Road.

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