Woodland Trust Scotland has purchased a favourite summer picnic spot of Andrew Carnegie.

The millionaire industrialist and philanthropist bought the Skibo Estate, and its Ledmore and Migdale woods in 1897 and would return with his family to spend summer holidays until the outbreak of the First World War.

The Carnegies named their favourite woodland walk and picnic spot “The Fairy Glen” and in 1907 opened it to the public.

A carved stone marking the occasion was uncovered by Woodland Trust Scotland volunteers Jim and Saddhavati Monahan, and site manager Ross Watson last week. It had become overgrown with moss and grass. The stone reads:

"FAIRY GLEN Opened By Mr, Mrs and Miss Carnegie 10th September 1907"

The Glen has a path through it today, but once had a more elaborate route through including nine wooden footbridges across the burn.

Woodland Trust Scotland purchased Ledmore and Migdale in 1993.  At nearly 700 hectares it is one of the Trust’s largest sites, and its most northerly wood in the UK. The 2.5ha Fairy Glen remained in private ownership however, until this week’s completed purchase.

Woodland Trust Scotland site manager Ross Watson said:

“This is a beautiful little glen with a charming burn tumbling through oakwoods dripping with mosses and ferns. It would be a lovely addition to Ledmore and Migdale on its woodland merits alone, but the Carnegie connection makes it all the more fitting. We are extremely grateful for the support of The Carman Family Foundation which enabled us to acquire this site."

Notes to editors

For further information contact George Anderson on 07770 700631

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims: 

  1. protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,200 sites in its care covering approximately 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free so everyone can benefit from woods and trees.