There’s an exciting initiative bringing life back to the wilds of Scotland. Just a stone’s throw away from the famous Loch Ness, you’ll find Dundreggan Rewilding Centre. Their mission? To restore the Scottish wilderness from centuries of degradation. Here, rewilding experts work tirelessly to revitalize Scotland’s Caledonian Forest. In turn, they’ve created a sanctuary for over 4,000 species, including majestic golden eagles and the elusive black grouse.
Visit Dundreggan Rewilding Centre on Day 4 of the Best of Scotland tour. Get ready to learn all about the wilds of Scotland in this world of ancient pinewoods and unique juniper forests. You may just meet a lynx or two.
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Unlock the wilds of Scotland at Dundreggan
On the Best of Scotland, you’ll start your tour in Edinburgh. After two days of exploring one of the world’s most iconic cities, you’ll venture out into the vast Scottish Highlands. On Day 4 of your trip you’ll have the chance to visit the Dundreggan estate, where you’ll learn all about their rewilding project. Here, experts closely study Highland ecology, working collaboratively with local landowners and farmers to slowly, naturally, regenerate the Caledonian forest. This goes further than just planting trees. They work to restore the whole native ecosystem that has suffered over the past centuries. This includes wolf, lynx, wild cattle, and special plants like the twinflower.
Through this unique MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® experience, you’ll connect with the rich Gaelic heritage of the Scottish Highlands. You’ll immerse yourself in its ancient flora and fauna, speak with hardworking locals, and learn about the history of the land. In doing so, you’ll play your own part in this chapter of the Gaelic story. This comes with its benefits: your visit helps safeguard one of Europe’s most beautiful and ancient landscapes, helping advance the United Nation’s Global Goal 15: Life on Land.
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The Journey of Trees for Life
The Dundreggan Rewiliding Centre is set up by Trees for Life, one of our TreadRight partners, who’ve worked tirelessly since 1993 to restore Scotland’s Caledonian Forest. Their dedication and expertise has made them a pioneering force in wild forest restoration, evidenced by the thriving Dundreggan tree nursery. And with flora comes fauna. Beavers are coming back to populate Scotland’s many rivers and lochs. Lynx and wildcats now prowl the Highlands. Though great achievements, one of the organization’s most enormous successes comes in the form of a little red squirrel. Since 2016, Trees for Life have orchestrated a daring rescue mission, capturing Scottish red squirrels from healthy areas and transplanting them to new regions, untouched by the threat of grey squirrels and squirrel pox. This project has created seven new populations throughout the North West Highlands, where they hadn’t been seen for over 50 years!
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Reviving the Lost Glory of Caledonian Pinewoods
6000 years ago, Scotland was covered with native pinewoods. Now, only a meager 1% of this original forest is left, broken up into isolated pockets. This of course decimated the wildlife that was once dependent on the forest. As the last survivors of the Caledonian Pinewoods struggled without proper care, no young trees grew to replace them.
Trees for Life’s Caledonian Pinewood Recovery Project works in tandem with Woodland Trust Scotland to save these last few pinewoods. They assess the health of these trees and collaborate with local landowners to help preserve these unique pinewoods for future generations to come.
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Growing Together: The Journey Ahead
Trees for Life’s vision goes beyond rewilding: they want to rebuild the relationship between society and the wild. Though humans were the cause of so much deforestation, Trees for Life is adamant that humans are key to its recovery. Volunteers are vital to their efforts, as well as engagement from the local community. Through collaboration with businesses, landowners and locals, they believe that the community should thrive alongside the forest. Locals gain a flood protector, a natural fighter against climate change, and a source of artistic and spiritual inspiration. The dream? A wild forest that sustains itself while also benefitting the local economy. It’s not such a tall order. Look all over the world and you’ll find wild forests that provide both a diverse ecosystem and plenty of economic opportunity.