Highlands & Islands

Deer-free woodland hailed a success

Red deer stags
Image caption Deer have been prevented from entering the woodland for 20 years

Turning a woodland into a deer-free zone has allowed part of Scotland's ancient Caledonian Forest to flourish, according to charity Trees for Life.

With no grazing deer, hundreds of thousands of Scots pine seeds have been able to grow on 123 acres (50 hectares) in Glen Affric, Inverness-shire.

Forres-based Trees for Life has been running the project jointly with Forestry Commission Scotland.

The woodland at Coille Ruigh na Cuileige was fenced off 20 years ago.

Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life executive director, said the project had involved no tree planting and the woodland left to seed and grow.

He said: "Regular surveys have given us invaluable knowledge and data about regeneration in the native pinewoods of the Caledonian Forest."

Black grouse

Giles Drake-Brockman, environment manager for the commission in Inverness, Ross and Skye, said the scheme had made an important contribution to the reshaping of Glen Affric.

He added: "It tells a powerful story, showing how simple actions such as a fence to exclude deer can make the difference between open moorland and a naturally wooded landscape."

As well as Scots pine, the area has rowans, birches, heather, blaeberry, eared willow and juniper.

Bird life include crested tits and black grouse.

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