The Coigach – Assynt Living Landscape (CALL) has been awarded a £3 million grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Working with major landowners in the area, including the Assynt Foundation, Culag Community Woodland Trust, Eisg Brachaidh, John Muir Trust, Kylescu Estate and Tanera Mor, the project focuses on improving the quality of habitats and ecosystem health at the landscape scale.
This will benefit both iconic species such as golden eagle, wildcat and otter and the local community by promoting economic prosperity in the area through training, employment and tourism.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £3 million, including £100,000 development funding, will help conserve and enhance the landscape of Coigach and Assynt in the north west of Scotland by regenerating the remaining native woodland, restoring peatlands, and improving vital pathways which connects local people to nature, helping boost tourism.
Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Simon Milne, said: “The Scottish Wildlife Trust is thrilled that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded the Coigach – Assynt Living Landscape this grant.
“This money brings environmental benefits through the myriad of restoration projects planned – such as native Atlantic oakwood restoration – as well as social and economic benefits for the entire community in the Coigach-Assynt area by providing jobs and promoting tourism.”
Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, Colin McLean, said: “Nature lies at the very heart of what makes Scotland special and nowhere is that more evident than the astounding scenery of Coigach-Assynt.
“However, the enormous pressures upon these landscapes mean that we have to tackle their restoration and conservation on a bigger scale than ever before.
“The Landscape Partnership programme does just that, and more.
“It brings real cohesion to the natural and built heritage of the region, while reconnecting its communities with the nature that lies on their doorstep.”
Project Manager of the Coigach – Assynt Living Landscape (CALL), Viv Halcrow, said: “This Heritage Lottery Funding will have a great impact across the whole Coigach – Assynt Living Landscape.
“It would not only benefit the environment, but will help to increase integration between communities, landowners, and organisations.
“The CALL partnership is very grateful to have received a stage one pass and is looking forward to developing the project in preparation for a stage two submission.”
MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Rob Gibson, said: “As the local MSP I have backed the CALL project from its launch in 2011.
“Many projects will be needed to achieve human and natural sustainability over a 50 year time-span. This grant is a major early support for the action programme.”
About the Coigach – Assynt Living Landscape
The Coigach – Assynt Living Landscape is a project involving 12 partners: Assynt Field Club, the Assynt Foundation (Drumrunie and Glencanisp), Coigach Community Development Company, Coigach Salmon Fisheries, Culag Community Woodland Trust (Culag Woods and Little Assynt), Eisg Brachaidh Estate, Historic Assynt, the John Muir Trust (Quinag), Isle Martin Trust, Kylescu Estate, the Scottish Wildlife Trust (Ben Mor Coigach) and Tanera Mor (Summer Isles).