Caledonian pine forest saved

An ancient pine forest has been bought by a local community after a race against time to raise the funds.

Loch Arkaig pine forest, near Spean Bridge in the Highlands, was used for commando training in the Second World War and found more recent exposure as a movie location.  It was put up for sale under the National Forest Land Scheme, giving community organisations first refusal to buy land where it can provide a public benefit.  The sale had to be completed earlier this year or the forest’s owner, Forest Enterprise Scotland, could have sold it on the open market.

Woodland Trust Scotland partnered with Arkaig Community Forest — a small group of local residents who share ambitious plans for the 2,500-acre site — and managed to raise the £500,000 needed in time.  Gary Servant, of Arkaig Community Forest, said:

“This is a great moment. The land has been bought and we have a fantastic opportunity to work together to restore these native woodlands and to reconnect local people with their forests.”

One of the most significant areas of remaining Caledonian pine forest, Loch Arkaig will be the largest ancient woodland restoration undertaken by the Woodland Trust on land directly under its care.

The forest is home to wild boar, sea eagles, golden eagles, ospreys, pine martens and deer among many other species.  The partnership between Woodland Trust Scotland and Arkaig Community Forest has the dual aim of restoring the forest and stimulating sustainable economic activity.  It is hoped that the local economy can benefit from wildlife tourism and the development of businesses using products from the forest.

 

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