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.

Thanks to your support, we're now using our expertise to restore the pinewood to its former glory as a native woodland, bringing this vital habitat back to life as a haven for Scotland's iconic wildlife. Your continued contributions are essential to ensure the pinewood is fully restored.

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 the forest for restoration
  • removed 30,000 tonnes of non-native timber using a mix of modern harvesting machinery and traditional techniques, such as a logging horse
  • freed up 500 acres of degraded forest and peatland for recolonisation by native trees and plants
  • installed a custom-built modular barge called Each Uisge (Water Horse) to help transport hard-to-reach timber from a remote area of the forest known as the Gusach
  • worked with our neighbours Achnacarry Estate, Arkaig Community Forest and Forestry and Land Scotland to create and deliver a shared vision for the restoration of the wider landscape around Loch Arkaig
  • carefully monitored the deer population and its impact on the native woodland flora
  • replaced seven kilometres of deer-proof fencing and supported a new community deer larder and community deer stalking initiative
  • removed invasive rhododendron 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 a further 40,000 tonnes of non-native timber from the forest, freeing up 750 acres for natural regeneration and peatland restoration
  • monitor the regeneration of the forest as it recovers from years of high deer browsing and non-native tree cover
  • call on our tree seed collection volunteers and Arkaig Community Forest’s Native Tree Nursery to provide any tree seeds and plants needed where the forest has been too badly damaged to recover on its own.

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. 

Credit: SCOTLAND: The Big Picture /

Incredible species returning 

We’re supporting the recovery and return of fragile species. This includes safeguarding rare rainforest lichens on veteran trees that are at risk of being shaded out by a fast-growing young forest, and relocating key plants and insects where local populations have become too small and isolated to recover on their own.

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.

We still need your support

We're busy reviving this vital habitat for Scotland's iconic wildlife, but this is just the beginning! We still need your help. Over the next five years, we plan to remove 40,000 tonnes of non-native trees, monitor the forest's regeneration and plant new trees where the forest has been too badly damaged to recover on its own.



Explore it for yourself

Woodland Trust Wood

Loch Arkaig Pine Forest

Spean Bridge

1027.31 ha (2538.48 acres)

Explore this wood

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.