Heart of Scotland Forest Project

The John Muir Trust is a UK conservation charity dedicated to protecting wild places. It works to restore the rich wildlife and habitats of wild land, helping native woodland and peatland to thrive. The Trust also campaigns for long term legal protection of wild land and educate people on conservation of these areas. Funded by Original Buff, S.A.

Schiehallion, in Gaelic Sith Chailleann – the Fairy Hill, is one of Scotland’s most iconic hills. The Trust’s vision for this property is to increase native woodland cover and connectivity between neighbouring areas of woodland, whilst connecting people with nature. The project will restore native broadleaves and Scots Pine across the lower sections of the area, restore montane scrub on the southern slopes, and link the forest with woodland on neighbouring properties in a new partnership in the geographical ‘Heart of Scotland’. Native woodland will be increased across 35 hectares of wild land, and connect to the existing 240 hectares of native woodland created in the area over the past 25 years. Specific activity in this project will include a combination of felling existing commercial woodland, planting around 8,000 native trees and protecting existing areas with fencing to encourage the natural regeneration of around 15,000 native trees to connect woodland compartments. The project will involve volunteers, trainees and school children in fencing and tree planting.

The Update

The official launch of the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership in July 2017 began with a symbolic planting of six tree saplings. A very successful fundraiser was also launched, raising £60,000!

Winter work included the felling of 3 hectares of conifer plantation and the installation of a 1.7km deer fence to protect approximately 10 hectares of land. In spring, 1,000 trees were planted (including birch, rowan and willow) with the help of 75 volunteers. The tree planting was combined with a mini festival on the slopes of Schiehallion.

The next stage of this project will involve the planting of 7,000 more trees and further fencing to protect these trees.

Image: Schiehallion. Image credit: John Muir Trust