An ancient forest in need of restoration

In 2016, in partnership with local residents and with the support of people and organisations from across the UK, we acquired 2,500 acres of magnificent but degraded ancient Caledonian pinewood deep in the Highlands of Scotland.

Over the next 20+ years we will use our expertise to restore the pinewood to glorious native woodland, an important home for some of Scotland's most iconic wildlife. To achieve this we still need to raise at least £1.4 million. We can't do this without your help.

What we've achieved so far

We've already achieved much, but there is more to do to safeguard the future of Loch Arkaig and its wildlife. So far we've:

  • sensitively upgraded and strengthened tracks and bridges to allow access to this remote site for restoration
  • repaired deer-proof fencing to allow native plants to return and thrive
  • removed invasive non-native rhododendron, which were stifling other plants, from 880 acres of forest.

But we're in it for the long haul, and this is just the start. Over the next five years we will:

  • remove 70,000 tonnes of non-native trees using specialist equipment
  • fight tree disease by taking out infected lodgepole pine
  • restore up to 440 hectares of degraded peatland habitats 
  • control invasive non-native species such as Japanese knotweed.

Ancient pines protected

There are just 84 native pinewood fragments left in Scotland. The forest here is one of them. Its ancient, wide-crowned 'granny' pines are precious features of this iconic Scottish landscape and part of an endangered habitat. 

Pine marten on mossy branch

Credit: SCOTLAND: The Big Picture / naturepl.com

Incredible wildlife returning 

Wildlife cameras are helping us discover and monitor the animals using the forest, including red squirrels, eagles, pine martens and wild boar. We'll manage the forest for their benefit, including putting up new nesting platforms for ospreys and boxes for pine martens.

Bleached tree at Loch Arkaig

Credit: John MacPherson / WTML

Special habitats safeguarded

Fire-damaged trees still stand throughout the forest, killed by a blaze started by training commandos in the 1940s. This sort of deadwood is an incredibly rare habitat. The aptly named 'fire lichen', which only grows on charred conifers, was found here by scientists in 2019. It has been recorded in just three other locations in the UK.

A future shaped by the community

We've partnered with Arkaig Community Forest - a small group of local residents who share our ambitious goals for the forest. Together we will carefully restore native woodland while delivering other environmental, social and economic benefits.

Players of People's Postcode Lottery are the lead funders of Loch Arkaig Pine Forest. It is thanks to their support that we have been able to operate our popular osprey cam every season since 2017.

Explore it for yourself

View of Loch Arkaig through trees

A Woodland Trust Wood

Loch Arkaig Pine Forest

Spean Bridge

1027.31 ha (2538.48 acres)

Explore this wood