This ancient forest is now on the road to restoration

In March 2016, we launched an appeal to buy and restore 2,500 acres of magnificent but degraded ancient Caledonian pinewood deep in the Highlands of Scotland. We had less than nine months to raise the funds.

In partnership with local residents, and thanks to support from people and organisations from across the UK, we succeeded in raising the £500,000 needed to buy the land.

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.

What's next for Loch Arkaig Pine Forest

Now that Loch Arkaig Pine Forest is safe in our hands we are actively planning for its future. And we're in it for the long haul. We've already achieved much, including:

  • sensitive upgrading and strengthening of tracks and bridges to allow access to this remote site
  • repairing deer-proof fencing to allow native plants to return and thrive
  • removing 880 acres of invasive non-native rhododendron.

Over the next 5 years, we have plans to:

  • remove 70,000 tonnes of non-native trees using specialist equipment
  • fight tree disease by taking out infected lodgepole pine
  • restore 95 hectares of degraded peatland habitats (with the potential to restore a further 250 hectares in the future)
  • control invasive non-native species such as Japanese knotweed
  • investigate the use of pontoons to barge timber from the most remote parts of the forest being restored.

There's still time to help

We can't do any of this without you. By donating to our Loch Arkaig fund, you'll make it possible for our work to continue.

Whatever you choose to give, donating online is secure, quick and cost effective, so more money goes directly towards supporting our work at Loch Arkaig.

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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