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We are excited that the Great Trossachs Forest – in the heart of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs - has received the National Nature Reserve accolade. It is also the largest NNR in the UK at over 16,000 hectares – an area almost as big as Glasgow, or 22,000 football pitches!

The National Nature Reserve accolade is awarded to sites that are managed both for the conservation of important species or habitats, and to help people enjoy nature.

Family walking up a hill above a loch 


The Great Trossachs Forest met the criteria on several counts, including: containing nine designated sites along with other important non-designated habitats; being home to protected species such as golden eagle, pine marten, otter and red squirrel; and an ongoing programme of work to remove invasive species and non-native trees. Here's a great short film on the wildlife in the Great Trossachs Forest.

View of Loch Katrine from a heathery hilltop

More than 1.5 million trees have been planted through the project, which will eventually create one of the UKs largest native woodlands in one of Scotland’s most celebrated landscapes.

Wee boy in a bike helmet playing next to a loch

Enjoying nature

Providing people with opportunities to visit the area to learn or to simply enjoy nature was another of the criteria met. Thanks to a recent award from the Heritage Lottery Fund, two Visitor Gateways have been built. A new long distance path has also been created (The Great Trossachs Path) to connect a wider network of trails and natural play and sculpture trails installed.

A dad with two children standing on the banks of a loch

The Great Trossachs App has also been developed to guide and inform people about the natural and cultural heritage of The Great Trossachs Forest NNR.

Did you know?

  • Loch Katrine has the oldest dated ash trees in Scotland.
  • Black grouse numbers are stable across the whole Great Trossachs Forest area.
  • Rare, special & endangered species within the forest include Golden Eagle, red squirrels, pine martens, otters, short eared owls & small headed wood ant.
  • The Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly was found (2011) at Loch Katrine for the first time in 25 years. In 2015 the rare narrow bordered bee hawk moth was identified.
  • There are currently 48 promoted National Nature Reserves in Scotland, covering less than 1.5% of Scotland.


Liz Shortall, one of our Communities, Recreation and Tourism Managers, introduces the project in this short film. The Great Trossachs Forest is a partnership project between Forest Enterprise Scotland (now Forestry and Land Scotland), RSPB Scotland and Woodland Trust Scotland. It aims to create one of the largest native woodlands in the UK, aspiring to 4,400 ha of forest cover set in a restored landscape where native habitats have been reconnected, protected and enhanced.

The project also celebrates the beauty and rich cultural heritage of the area, and has established itself as a showcase for landscape-scale, partnership working that benefits wildlife, tourism, outdoor leisure, learning and research.

Some of the key work completed to date includes:

  • extensive series of tree planting at Loch Katrine, Loch Arklet, Inversnaid, Glen Meann and Glen Casaig (with deer fencing). Over 1.5 million native trees have been planted;
  • removal of invasive species (especially Rhododendron);
  • felling of non-native trees recently at Stronachlachar and the slopes of Ben A’an;
  • creation of new paths (Old Military Road, Primrose Hill, link path from Brig o’ Turk to Kilmahog);
  • creation of new long distance route The Great Trossachs Path;
  • opening of our new Visitor Gateway at Glen Finglas;
  • installed the Art & Literature Trail;
  • natural Play and Sculpture Trail in Little Druim Wood;
  • produced a short film series;
  • with LLTNP produced a secondary schools education resource pack linked to Curriculum for Excellence;
  • promoted the project via presentations, website, tours etc; and
  • hosted variety of events.