Ardura Community Forest

Ardura Forest has long been an important part of the lives of islanders, central to the way of life for generations of Mull families.

The Gaelic naming of the forest, Doir a’ Chuilinn, or ‘holly grove’ goes back to medieval times with the oldest known tree in the forest a holly, dated from around 1733 and therefore some 300 years old. 

Our community is only just beginning to uncover the human story held within Ardura but we do know that for centuries subsistence farmers grazed and sheltered their animals in the forest, on the long journeys by foot through the mountains and glens to market; during the Spring lambing season and the winter storms. People used the forest to manage and harvest the timber and firewood needed to keep themselves and their families warm and fed.  

Today, islanders and visitors share a passion and strong connection with this beautiful forest: Ardura is now a place for gentle recreation, experiencing nature, finding solace and reflecting on cultural and personal links to our ancestors who used the forest before us.

In a small and remote community, where indoor leisure facilities are limited, the forest provides a much-needed space for islanders to meet and socialise. For children and their families to play and learn together, connecting with each other to reduce loneliness and boost wellbeing.    

An ancient oakwood and part of the Atlantic rainforest– one of Scotland’s most precious habitats, internationally as important as tropical rainforest, but even rarer, Ardura is home to a rich and diverse array of birds, mammals and plants. Including marsh fritillary butterflies, pine martens, the very rare hazel glove fugus, redstarts and spotted flycatcher, iconic birds of prey, including eagles and hen harriers and even the elusive otter. 

A truly special place for people and nature, Ardura is now in community ownership, under the stewardship Mull and Iona Community Trust.  

The community is working to urgently restore and protect this ancient rainforest, it’s rare and vulnerable wildlife and landscapes, to revise the damage caused by decades of commercial tree planting and harvesting under previous ownership and overgrazing by the wild deer population. 

The work is a key part of the charity’s long-term vision to regenerate, protect and enhance Ardura’s Atlantic rainforest biodiversity over the next 20+ years, ready to face the threats of climate change.  Conserving, globally rare fungi, plant and lichen species to help some of the UK’s most vulnerable birds and animals to survive. Whilst providing local employment opportunities in the forest to undertake the work and protecting the cultural connections with our forbearers, those generations of islanders who depended so much on Ardura in times gone by. Creating a beautiful, healthy and accessible place for future generations of islanders and visitors alike to enjoy.  

If you share our passion to restore and protect this special forest for nature, people and climate please donate to our Just Giving campaign here: 

For further information about the forest and/or to find out more about volunteering at Ardura please contact Ardura Biodiversity Officer Rachel French: