Highlands & Islands

Bid to buy Torridon's Ben Shieldaig and its ancient wood

Ben Shieldaig Image copyright Steve Carter
Image caption Ben Shieldaig has been put up for sale by a private landowner

A conservation charity hopes to buy a west Highlands hill and its area of ancient Caledonian pinewood and native birchwood.

Ben Shieldaig's pinewood can be traced back to the end of the last ice age.

Woodland Trust Scotland is trying to raise £1.6m to purchase the 534m (1,752ft) tall mountain after it was put up for sale by a private landowner.

Ben Shieldaig, near Shieldaig, is one of Scotland's Marilyns, hills with a drop of at least 150m on all sides.

Image copyright Steve Carter
Image caption The hill sits in the Torridon landscape

Woodland Trust Scotland said the 9,884 acres (4,000ha) involved was among important habitats in the area.

Its director Carol Evans said the sale of the hill offered the charity "a rare opportunity" to bring a whole hill under its care.

She said: "It already supports a magnificent area of ancient Caledonian pinewood and a temperate rainforest of native birchwood.

"Perhaps even more exciting is the potential to manage these within a mosaic of their natural neighbours."

Image copyright Steve Carter
Image caption The hill is one of Scotland's Marilyns

She added: "Our aim is to see native woodland, montane scrub and open moorland habitats meshing naturally with each other from sea to sky.

"That would encapsulate all that a restored landscape can be, not just in Torridon but across the Highlands."

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