Heart of Scotland Forest dream may once have looked like a mountain to climb … but step by step the fairy hill tale comes true

SIX organisations who are working together to create a new ‘wild wood’ in Highland Perthshire have released a video explaining their plans as part of a £50,000 fundraising drive.

The Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership appeal hopes to breathe new life into the native species elbowed out by only remaining clumps of willow and non-native conifers.

The John Muir Trust, Forest Enterprise, Scottish Wildlife Trust, The Woodlands Trust Scotland and Highland Perthshire Communities Land Trust are working with Kynachan Estate to create the expanse.

Along with land and animal management, they hope to transform the wood into an area rich in birch, Scots pine and rowan to enable wildlife to flourish between the Schiehallion and Loch Tummel.

Some 50 square kilometres will be targeted. However it will involve in parts the erection of some fencing which the group said would be “sensitively-sited” with a purpose of protecting the growing trees from wildlife.

They hope to raise cash to support the venture asking for donations towards tree planting, training volunteers and tree protection.

The idea is to encourage wildlife by restoring the landscape, which in turn should create jobs, training and potential future opportunities for local communities.

Funding is also coming from the April Trust and Original Buff, S.A via the European Outdoor Conservation Association following the official launch in July.

Dr Liz Auty, property manager at East Schiehallion for the John Muir Trust, played a key role in bringing the partnership together.

She said: “We have a long term vision to turn this vast upland area into a living breathing landscape of native trees, woodland corridors, flourishing wildlife and picturesque footpaths.

“This project we believe can start to turn this landscape into a marvellous asset for the local community and a precious legacy for our children and grandchildren.”

Skills, jobs and investment in the area could also follow according fellow partners.

Heart_of_Scotland_Forest_Partnership_map_original.jpgHPCLT’s Willie McGhee said at the launch: “We believe this project will benefit the local community right from the start.”

He added: “We want to encourage people to get involved, deepen their knowledge of nature and learn new skills.”

Donations can be made to the project via a link to The John Muir Trust appeals page.

Want to learn more? Read: Let’s get closer to the Land by Jim Crumley/The Courier

Image credits: Video – HSFP/John Muir Trust; Schiehallion cc Sidarcy78






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