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Bluebell wood bought thanks to gift in will

We are delighted to announce that thanks to a generous gift in the will from a long-term supporter we have been able to buy what we believe is Scotland’s most spectacular bluebell wood.

We plan to secure and enhance Ballathie Bluebell Wood near Kinclaven in Perthshire, and reforest adjacent grassland cleared of trees in the 1940s and 1950s.

The springtime display of bluebells at the wood is simply breathtaking. The gentle slope of the ground combines with the blooms to produce a blue haze which seems to go on forever. We think it’s the most spectacular display in Scotland. (If you don’t agree tell us about your favourite in the comments below!)

Ballathie pictured in May 2017. A blue haze that seems to go on forever (Photo: WTML/ Julie Howden)

The lasting Impact of Gifts in Wills

The purchase has been made possible by a substantial gift in the will from a supporter whose family wishes to remain anonymous. There was a stipulation that the money should be spent in Tayside. When this wood came on the market it was the perfect fit. We are so grateful to the benefactor who made this purchase possible.

The site comprises a 125 acre ancient oakwood called North Wood and 79 acres of grassland known locally as Court Hill.

Ballathie has been looked after well but we plan to protect it from the twin threats of overgrazing and invasive species. There is currently little natural regeneration because of overgrazing by deer. Existing fencing will be repaired and naturally regenerating saplings will be protected using tubes. Invasive rhododendron will be removed.

Court Hill’s now bare grassland was covered in trees up until the 1940s and 50s. We will plant 30,000 native saplings.

Ballathie is also home to some very large veteran beech (Photo: WTML/ Julie Howden)

What You Will Find at Ballathie

As well as the annual carpet of bluebells, visitors can see delicate displays of wood anemone, primrose, pink purslane, wood sorrel and dog violet. Aside from the oak trees there are a number of very large veteran beech at the site.

Red-listed bird species abound – including linnet, yellowhammer, mistle and song thrush, redwing, fieldfare, cuckoo, spotted flycatcher, lesser redpoll and woodcock. Woodpecker drumming seems ever-present!

Ballathie is also home to red squirrel, pine marten, stoat, brown hare, hedgehog, bats and the common toad.

The surrounding area is steeped in history. Nearby Kinclaven Castle was burnt down by William Wallace during a siege in 1297. The castle treasure was taken to nearby woodland – possibly North Wood – where Wallace and his men hid.

Ballathie is a very special place. Thanks to a legacy we are able to secure its future for people and wildlife.

Have you thought about leaving a gift in your will to benefit the nation's trees and woods?