The Great Trossachs Forest is one of the most significant native woodland conservation projects to take place in the UK for a generation. It is a 200 year commitment by RSPB Scotland, Woodland Trust Scotland and Forestry Commission Scotland. Covering 160 square kilometres, this is a ‘forest in the making’, where habitats are being restored to create a continuous area managed for the benefit of wildlife and people.
Set in the heart of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, this beautiful area is home to iconic Scottish wildlife including golden eagles, black grouse and red squirrels. The landscape was once largely covered by native forest stretching up into the surrounding mountains, but in recent years much has been felled, reducing its biodiversity. The aims of the project include restoring degraded habitats by planting thousands of trees and allowing native woodland to regenerate. It will also complete The Great Trossachs Path; a long distance trail for all, which connects a network of routes and three of Scotland’s Great Trails, leaving a growing legacy for people, wildlife and one of Scotland’s most precious environments. EOCA’s contribution to the project will:
– complete a 5 mile new path linking Kilmahog and Glen Finglas, completing the ‘Great Trossachs Path’
– facilitate regeneration of natural woodland and preservation of unique habitats through the temporary extension of deer fencing and planting of 40,800 saplings
– produce a walking and cycling leaflet to help visitors to enjoy the fantastic scenery and heritage of the Trossachs, while exploring the scenic sections of the Great Trossachs Path and its many spur routes.
EOCA General Managers had the pleasure of visiting this project in Spring 2015. What a wonderful area for nature spotting, walking, cycling and travelling on the lochs! Within 6 months, this project had completed the path work making an exciting and stunning long distance route for people to enjoy. 678 hectares have been fenced in to enable natural regeneration and tree planting to successfully happen. Over 56,000 trees have been planted. Regeneration has occurred over 176 hectares, 391 hectares of open ground and montane woodland habitats have been protected, as have 67 hectares of existing native woodland.
Final Update March 2016: The path is now complete and being well used, with some very positive comments from those enjoying it. Themed route cards (one for cyclists and one for those with restricted mobility) and brochures have been produced, and information boards installed. Following an unwelcome fire in the Spring of 2015, a fire plan has also now been put in place. The trees that have been planted will be regularly visited to be weeded and replace any that have not established over the next 10 years