Ranger Round Up- The ‘Heart of Scotland’ Project

As well as working on our personal projects and bashing away at invasive species, we’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks working with our partners from the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership.

Officially started in 2017, this project sprung from a shared motivation of neighbouring land managers to connect and restore woodlands in Highland Perthshire. The ‘Heart’, or project area, is made up of 3,000 hectares of land owned by the John Muir Trust, Forestry and Land Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Highland Perthshire Community Land Trust (HPCLT) and two private landowners.

The partnership is always expanding and also includes the Woodland Trust who help advise on planting schemes and management agreements.

It’s an incredibly exciting project to be part of and an opportunity to create a real stronghold for wildlife in the local area.

 

Map of the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership project area © John Muir Trust
Map of the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership project area © John Muir Trust

Although not the largest contributor to the project in terms of land area, which includes our Keltneyburn reserve, we still have plenty to give in terms of volunteer power.

In the last few weeks, the ranger team has been up Schiehallion clearing path drainage ditches with the John Muir Trust (including retrieving a wayward wheelbarrow near the summit), surveying plots at Dùn Coillich Community Woodland for natural tree regeneration and visiting privately-owned Garth Wood to learn about the process of replacing forestry plantation with native woodland.

The Perthshire ranger team learning about the Garth Wood project © Sara Rasmussen
The Perthshire ranger team learning about the Garth Wood project © Sara Rasmussen
The Perthshire ranger team surveying for natural tree regeneration at Dùn Coillich community woodland © Sara Rasmussen
The ranger team surveying for natural tree regeneration at Dùn Coillich community woodland © Sara Rasmussen
View of Schiehallion from Dùn Coillich Community Woodland- both within the Heart of Scotland project area © Sara Rasmussen
View of Schiehallion from Dùn Coillich Community Woodland- both within the Heart of Scotland project area © Sara Rasmussen
Clearing path drainage channels with John Muir Trust at Schiehallion © Sara Rasmussen
Helen clearing path drainage channels with John Muir Trust at Schiehallion © Sara Rasmussen

Our time with our partner organisations has been a really valuable experience for us as assistant rangers, giving us an insight into the inner workings of a landscape scale project. It’s also been a lot of fun! Climbing Schiehallion gave us some spectacular views, and wading through heather at Dùn Coillich searching for regenerated tree saplings gave us a lot of laughs.

We’d like to say a big thank you to all the partners who’ve hosted us so far! We’re looking forward to developing our fencing skills next week on Schiehallion and learning about Kynachan estate’s innovative approach to farming Highland cattle.

The Perthshire ranger team on the summit of Schiehallion © Sara Rasmussen
The Perthshire ranger team on the summit of Schiehallion © Sara Rasmussen

You can find out more about the Heart of Scotland project via the John Muir Trust website.

Keep an eye on our social media feeds over the autumn and winter months for opportunities to get involved in practical conservation work with the partnership.

The Assistant Ranger Team

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Preface

As well as working on our personal projects and bashing away at invasive species, we’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks working with our partners from …

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