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Red squirrel climbing a tree trunk

A tail of two squirrels...

Monday, 20 January 2020

For most people, spotting a red squirrel is a very rare treat. It hasn’t always been this way. These little red acrobats used to roam across all of Britain and were a much more common sight. Now, when we see a squirrel in central or southern Scotland it’s usually a grey, the red’s larger American cousin. The arrival of an invading new species in the form of the greys is a challenge in its...

Beneath the stars: Winter camping

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

As winter nights begin to shorten, the season for camping is once again upon us. While cold temperatures certainly complicate a winter camping expedition, by no means do they rule it out! Beginners or those who have never camped outdoors may find the conditions challenging, but there's a lot to see and experience.  From the lack of midges, to frost-bound forests and snow-capped hills, to s...

Frogtopia: Building the perfect pond

Monday, 13 January 2020

In December, the Forestry and Land Scotland team at Glentress in Tweed Valley Forest Park were ably assisted by volunteers from the Borders Forest Trust and the Scottish Borders Council as they tackled the daunting task of clearing the drained wildlife and biodiversity pond outside the Gateway building. The pond, originally created as a home for a diverse range of wildlife from dragonflies...

Man and two women walking along a cliffside path

Ten winter walks for the whole family

Monday, 06 January 2020

Whether it's your New Year's resolution to get active or you just need to burn off all that Christmas turkey and roast potatoes, January is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf, step outside, and reconnect with nature. Winter is one of Scotland's most spectacular seasons, even if the weather is sometimes less than ideal. Grab the right all-weather gear and stay warm, and a winter walk can b...

Nature in its purest form: Photographing a White-tailed Eagle

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

The stunning photos above were taken by David, one of our Wildlife Rangers, and a seasoned bird-watcher. He saw the young eagle in Brenchoillie Forest in Argyll. These rare and magnificent birds sadly went extinct in Britain in the 1900s. More recently they were successfully re-introduced, starting with a small population on Scotland's Isle of Rum. Amazingly, David got close enough to see ...

Bats in Scotland’s forests

Monday, 02 December 2019

How much do you know about bats? They are a protected species in Scotland, but thanks to the efforts of dedicated bat-fans, a few species are increasing in number. The growing populations are a huge success story for this fascinating flying mammal. Let’s celebrate with some bat-facts! Main image viua PXfuel Bats are brilliant! A female Natterer's bat is handled by an FLS wildlife expert...

National Tree Week: The Tree Charter

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

The Tree Council’s nation-wide celebration National Tree Week is here! Back in 2017, the Council and dozens of partner organisations and charities got together to create The Tree Charter, or to give it its full title, The Charter for Woods, Trees and People. A mini-manifesto of sorts, the Charter is intended to help communities, individuals and trees to stand together. It looks at t...

National Tree Week: Prayer of the Woods

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Walking through the forests and national parks of North America, at some point you are bound to come across a version of the ‘Prayer of the Woods’. Usually carved on a plaque at the entrance to a forest trail, the ‘prayer’ takes the form of a short poem presented as an anonymous work. While its most common title is ‘Prayer of the Woods’ it does not have a religious origin. It is tra...

Mapping the territory: World GIS Day

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The Planning Support Team at Forestry and Land Scotland have a saying: “Everything happens somewhere." Mapping plays a huge role in all of the work that takes place in Scotland's forests, and without the technology behind GIS (Geographic Information Systems), their job would be a lot more difficult. “Knowing the locations of our forests and land—and what’s on them—is extreme...

Tackling the Climate Emergency: Peatland restoration in south Scotland

Thursday, 31 October 2019

According to current estimates, peatland covers about 3% of the planet. Peat is made when many years' growth of plants partially decay, to build up a biodiversity-rich habitat. Peatlands vary in age, size and distribution across Scotland. The blanket bogs in the Scottish uplands started to form just over two thousand years ago, and their peat depth varies from between half a metre to 6 met...

Cleaning up the Clootie Well at Munlochy

Monday, 28 October 2019

The Clootie Well at Munlochy is a fascinating place to visit. A site of historical significance going back possibly as far as the 7th century, it has long attracted visitors and pilgrims due to its association with ancient, pre-Christian healing traditions, and is seen by many as a site of great importance to the Pagan religion. According to tradition, handed down from generation to generation,...

Saying goodbye to the sculptures of Frank Bruce

Thursday, 24 October 2019

A unique sculpture trail in the Cairngorms is slowly losing its works of art—just as the artist intended. The sculptures were made from reclaimed wood by the late Frank Bruce (1931—2009). The impressive and beloved collection of works in timber and stone are carved in the ‘archetypal abstraction’ style developed by the self-taught, Aviemore-based sculptor. Sited at Feshiebrid...

The 'Last Ent of Affric' is Scotland's Tree of the Year 2019

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

One of Scotland's most ancient and mysterious trees has been named the Woodland Trust's 'Tree of the Year' following a campaign by Forestry and Land Scotland and members of the public. The tree, known as 'The Last Ent of Affric' in honour of the tree-creatures invented by J.R.R. Tolkien in 'Lord of the Rings', is located in Glen Affric, near Cannich in the Scottish Highlands. Giles Brockman (pi...

New website celebrates 100 years of forestry in Scotland

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

This year marks 100 years since the passing of the Forestry Act of 1919. The act brought the Forestry Commission into being, and gave it responsibility for woods in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. With only 5% of the UK afforested as the First World War began, the urgent need for timber mobilised a vast new workforce, and gave birth to a whole new era for the forestry industries. ...

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