Woodland Trust Scotland launches £1.6M appeal to buy Ben Shieldaig
One Mountain – Two Rare Forest Habitats – Vast Potential!
Woodland Trust Scotland has launched a £1.6M appeal to buy a mountain in the North West Highlands. It aims to manage its two spectacular woodlands within a mosaic of wild habitats from sea to sky.
Ben Shieldaig’s birch woodland is part of a unique habitat shaped by the mild climate and clean air. This is Scotland’s rainforest. Lush with mosses and liverworts, it is important for oceanic bryophytes.
The mountain is also home to a remnant of ancient Caledonian pinewood. It is special because it lies at the very limit of the Scots pine’s northern European distribution.
With its summit at 534m Ben Shieldaig covers around 4,000 acres. It is set in the dramatic Torridon landscape within the Wester Ross National Scenic Area.
The Woodland Trust will manage the land to encourage natural regeneration in and around these existing woods. A combination of natural regeneration and planting could see a tripling of woodland cover on the mountain.
The Trust plans to use a site manager and project manager. These will be a quality jobs contributing to the local economy.
Scottish wildlife including sea eagles, golden eagles, red squirrels, pine marten and otter live in the area. Also spotted are the UK’s smallest dragonfly, the black darter and the vulnerable azure hawker dragonfly.
Ben Shieldaig offers excellent walking and has spectacular views from the summit towards Skye and the Outer Hebrides.
The Woodland Trust aims to protect the native woodland at Ben Shieldaig. They will do this through natural regeneration, new native planting and effective deer management.
Carol Evans continued: “We aim to manage the site for wildlife and people and encourage recreational access. We will consult with local people about our plans once we secure ownership. Before anything can happen though, we need to raise the money to fund the buy.”
Details of the appeal are on the Woodland Trust website at woodlandtrust.org.uk/mountain