Woodland Trust Scotland has extended its Glen Finglas estate in the Trossachs with the acquisition of a 99-year lease on 77 hectares of land at Portnellan – between Loch Venachar and the A821.

Portnellan will provide a new winter home for the Trust’s prize-winning pedigree herd of Luing cattle whose grazing is essential to the conservation management of rare woodland habitats across the estate.

The land currently has little tree cover except for a few mature roadside and field boundary trees. Around 20 hectares of the poorer pasture will be planted with new broadleaf woodland. The better land will provide grazing and silage for the herd. A further 60 hectares of native woodland will be created elsewhere on the estate – on ground previously needed for the conservation cattle but freed up by their move to Portnellan.

Moray Estates gave the Woodland Trust “first refusal” on the ground with an off-market offer on a 99-year lease.

Moray Estates' spokesperson said: “We very much support what Woodland Trust Scotland has achieved at Glen Finglas over the last 25 years and are delighted we have been able to reach an agreement on the future of Portnellan.”

Site manager Hamish Thomson said: “Our cattle are used to manage the upland wood pasture and valuable open habitats in the upper glens through the summer months. In the winter we need to bring them to lower ground. Currently the fields along the east side of the reservoir are used prior to bringing them down to the home fields for calving in February and March. Having the additional good grazing land at Portnellan will allow us to expand and connect the existing woodland areas around Glen Finglas reservoir, linking the woodland in Glen Finglas, Gleann Meann and Glen Casaig through to the woodland on Lendrick Hill.”

Some of the retained pasture at Portnellan is old species-rich grassland, a habitat of high conservation value. Sensitive management of this habitat by cutting and grazing will preserve its rich biodiversity.  

Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helped secure the extension.

Laura Chow, head of charities at People's Postcode Lottery said:

"I'm delighted our players' support has allowed the Woodland Trust to extend Glen Finglas estate. Securing this land will mean vital conservation work on the estate can go ahead, so the landscape - and the plants and animals it is home to - can continue to thrive.”

Woodland Trust Scotland is currently celebrating 25 years managing Glen Finglas estate. Covering more than 4,800ha of mountain and moorland it is the largest of the Woodland Trust's sites across the UK.

Over a million native trees have been planted and some 1,800 ha of new native woodland created. Over 100 ha of peatland has been restored.

Check out the dedicated web page for more information on what has been achieved over the last quarter century, including a short video.

Notes to editors

For further information please contact George Anderson on 07770 700631.

Finglas Facts 

Together with neighbouring land owned by RSPB, and Forestry and Land Scotland, Glen Finglas estate makes up The Great Trossachs Forest National Nature Reserve, which is as big as Greater Glasgow.

Glen Finglas has nine waymarked paths totalling 59km and connects with The Great Trossachs Path between Inversnaid and Callander. Paths range from a family-friendly play trail to more challenging routes high up in the glen. 

Wildlife at the site includes black grouse, beaver, golden eagle, pine marten, otter and red squirrel.

About the Woodland Trust

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 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free so everyone can benefit from woods and trees.

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