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Members of the Craigmonie Woodland Association (CWA) have been celebrating the success of their efforts with Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) as their local woodland takes on a new lease of life.

With overly mature conifers removed, a network of rebuilt trails to improve access and the planting of over 2000 native trees, the site is increasingly being enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.

Sandra Reid for FLS said;

“Many of the conifers on the western side of Craigmonie had reached maturity and grown to such a size that they were susceptible to windblow, so before that happened it was safer to fell them.

“This meant that for public safety we had to close all of the trails running through the woodland for the a long time before we could rebuild them?

“Removing the at-risk conifers has opened up a lot of great views that visitors can enjoy as they make their way around the rebuilt trails. The Association volunteers have also planted 2,200 native trees in the felled areas, which in time will change the shape and look of the woodland.”

CWA was formed in 1995 to maintain and improve trails in Craigmonie Woodland in a Shared Management Arrangement with Forestry and Land Scotland. It aims to manage a mixed woodland to enhance community and visitor use and to promote understanding of the flora and fauna of the woodland. 

The group also works with Woodland Trust Scotland, which looks after the nearby Balmacaan Wood, which sits on the same footpath network.

The enthusiastic volunteers planted the new Craigmonie trees following all corona virus guidelines during winter 2021 despite the chilly, snowy weather. Glenurquhart Primary school pupils also came out with their spades and planted an area, which helped them achieve a Woodland Trust Scotland Green Tree Award.

Alan Bell for the Association, said;

“Many of our volunteers have worked at Craigmonie for many years and it is great to be able to have such an input into looking after this beautiful woodland.

“Planting native species will help to increase the diversity of the woodland, which in time will, we hope, be colonised by new wildlife.

“The newly upgraded, easier-access trails and new signage are also a great benefit and are proving to be a big hit with everyone but especially the local school and nursery, walkers and cyclists.

“We are all looking forward to watch the woodland grow and evolve in the years to come.”

Meeting on the first Saturday of every month, its members have over the years worked on ditching, path maintenance, providing bird and bat boxes, cutting back rhododendrons and setting up interpretation material.

Anyone interested in taking part should contact the Chair, Alan Bell on 01456 450227 , or Secretary/Treasurer, Sandra Bardwell 01456 450609.


Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.

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  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 07785 527590 or

  4. Craigmonie Wood links to Glenurquhart and Glen Coiltie and to a number of long-distance routes. The Affric Kintail Way starts in Drumnadrochit and winds its way along the new trails on its way to Glen Affric, then eventually Morvich on the west coast.
  5. Craigmonie and Woodland Trails include: The Milton Trail 1 ½ miles / 2.6 km  Allow 1 hour; The Craigmonie Trail 1 ¼ miles / 2.0 km  Allow 1 hour; The Oakwood Trail (1km/0.6 miles); The Balmacaan Trail. (2.5km/1.6 miles)