We are investigating whether to purchase the 200 hectare Ardura Forest just south of Craignure as a means of generating income to contribute to our core costs, whilst also providing community benefit and improving the bio-diversity of the area.
Currently, the forest includes around 110 hectares of commercial timber, mainly sitka spruce with some larch and lodge pole pine. Much of the area within the forest is officially designated as Ancient Woodland and indeed there are remnants of oak, holly and birch within the sitka spruce. The Gaelic name of the woods is Doire a’ Chuilinn which translates as “the Grove of the Holly”. The forest we hope to purchase goes down as far as the River Lussa – on the other side is the Mull Oakwoods Site of Special Scientific Interest.
We hope to work in partnership with the neighbouring Torosay Hill Estate which has a 150 year vision of ecological restoration of the land. This will be achieved by careful selection of appropriate native species best suited for the different parts of the forest. The planting will be done sensitively with respect to other flora and fauna, in particular rare and protected species of raptors like Hen Harrier and butterflies and moths like the Marsh Fritillary.
We plan to restore the old road which runs for nearly two miles as a multi-use path as well as creating other woodland walks. Another popular idea is to build an outdoor Forest School to support Lochdonhead Primary School and the local children.
We have submitted an Asset Transfer Request to Forest Enterprise Scotland, and will then apply to
the Scottish Land Fund for a grant for the purchase cost – this process will take us through to late
summer 2018. If you have any suggestions or would like more information please contact
(Thank you to Carolyne Charrington for the fantastic aerial photos!)