Drummond Hill land management plan
Drummond Hill forms the majestic backdrop to Loch Tay, Taymouth Castle and the village of Kenmore in Perthshire. It purports to be the first managed forest in Scotland with planting having started in the 17th century.
Drummond is an important site for wildlife being the first site for the reintroduction of Capercaillie. Pine marten and Red squirrels enjoy the mix of tree species found at Drummond. In terms of recreation there are three waymarked trails and a scenic viewpoint at Black Rock from which to take in the majestic panorama of loch Tay and over Kenmore. The iron age hill fort, Caisteal Mac Tuathall, sits in what must have been a commanding position overlooking the confluence of the rivers Lyon and Tay.
The forest is facing a number of challenges:
- A large part of the landscape impact is from the larch trees on the southern aspect of the site and their colour change through the seasons. Unfortunately, larch in Scotland is struggling with disease leading to large areas of mortality. Should this disease be confirmed at Drummond Hill large areas of reactive felling could be required. One of the decisions faced in the revision of this plan is how to manage these areas of larch to maintain the landscape character over a period of transition.
- Much of the forest which is highly visible from Loch Tay and the surrounding area is on very steep slopes. These slopes significantly constrain forest operations and so management choices. Being immediately above the important North Loch Tay road the safety of all operations undertaken is especially paramount, careful planning will be the key.
- A challenge in this plan is to manage the present crops from a clear fell management system to one where tree cover is maintained in perpetuity. This change should have benefits for timber quality, carbon sequestration and wildlife as well as landscape continuity.
The plan is being developed and is presently at the stage where technical surveys are being undertaken to inform management decisions. In due course public consultations will be held to explore opinion on the options for management.
The plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
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