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Native woodland expansion is proposed along the seaward-facing slopes on open hill, stretching for about three miles between Appin forest and the south west part of Bealach forest. Significant areas (approximately 95 ha) of semi-natural woodland, primarily birch, already exist - particularly on steeper slopes. Some of these areas are Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW) with small areas of Plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS). 

Woodland development will be achieved through a combination of planting and natural regeneration, infilling between existing native woodland and extending up to 400 metres above sea level. 

Enhancement planting will be confined to lower to mid slopes, avoiding areas of priority open habitat (which have been surveyed and mapped) such as blanket bog, calcareous grassland, base-rich wet flushes and existing semi-natural woodland (including ASNW) as well as any significant areas of deep peat. Natural regeneration will be encouraged on the higher ground and areas close to sensitive habitats. In Bealach, soils on the seaward side closer to the forest road, where access is easier, are suitable for productive broadleaves and the intention is to manage these areas as low impact productive forest. 

A variety of locally native species will be planted or encouraged to regenerate naturally, including oak, birch, hazel, aspen, rowan, willows, alder, hawthorn, holly, bird cherry and wild cherry. Ash will not be planted but natural regeneration will be encouraged, where trees appear to be surviving Chalara locally. Planting will be at variable densities with a naturalistic design; for the most part this will be enhancement planting to support natural regeneration and to reintroduce locally native species that are scarce at this site.  

A total area (gross) of 189.07 ha will be involved across the two forest blocks, comprising about 53.28 ha  (net, i.e. excluding open areas) planted and 74.81 ha (net) natural regeneration. 

Approximately 625 ha will be fenced to exclude deer, along the boundary march (or as close to it as is feasible) with the fence dropping down through the SW part of Bealach to tie in at the Salachan burn. Deer control will continue within the fenced area. The roadside will not be fenced to exclude deer – it is anticipated that low levels of deer grazing and browsing will continue within the fenced area, which will benefit open habitats such as calcareous grassland and wet flushes. 

Minimal ground preparation will be used, other than light scarification to remove dense vegetation and create conditions suitable for natural regeneration, avoiding areas of deep peat. There are significant areas of bracken, particularly in Bealach, which will require treatment prior to planting. Rhododendron has taken hold in Appin and has spread onto the open hill. This will be controlled on an ongoing basis. 

The woodland expansion plans consider and protect conservation and heritage sites, which  have been identified and mapped. A private water supply point within the woodland creation area is located in an area with existing broadleaves and will be protected during planting, with a buffer maintained around the source, following industry best practice as set out in the Confor Forest and Water Scotland Initiative.


Get in touch

If you would like further information or have any questions, please contact:

The Planning Team
Forestry and Land Scotland
West Region
Torlundy, Fort William
PH33 6SW


Phone: 0300 670 6650