Coigach and Assynt

Ben Mor Coigach (c) Scottish Wildlife TrustBen Mor Coigach (c) Scottish Wildlife Trust

Communities and nature working together

working together to achieve a healthy landscape

Scottish Wildlife Trust

360 view

The Coigach - Assynt Living Landscape is one of the largest landscape restoration projects in Europe, aiming to benefit the land, the people and the local economy in the north west of Scotland.
It's 2050; the communities of Coigach and Assynt are working together to achieve a truly living landscape through improved understanding of their environment and the impacts of climate change; shared active management providing a diverse range of connected and resilient habitats; creation of local employment and training opportunities, and building on the communities’ strong cultural heritage linked to the land. For recent news and information you can visit the project website.
 

What does the project involve?

Working with landowners and local people, the Coigach - Assynt Living Landscape aims to restore the health of the whole ecosystem by improving and reconnecting habitats (especially native woodlands) and creating rural employment and volunteering opportunities.

In 2013, the partnership expanded to involve five new partners. This enabled us to submit an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Landscape Partnership scheme. More projects (currently 35) are in development, adding built heritage and further access, interpretation and learning ideas.

HLF’s Landscape Partnership Scheme programme identifies nine outcomes which the scheme’s collective projects must achieve:

• Heritage: is better managed, in better condition and identified / recorded.
• People: have developed skills, learnt about heritage and volunteered time.
• Communities: have reduced environmental impacts, more engagement with heritage and the area will be a better place to work, live and visit.
 

Virtual tour by Mike McFarlane

360 view

How can you help?

Scottish Wildlife Trust is working with Forest Research to develop a habitat network model which maps where woodland creation and habitat restoration should be targeted to maximise ecological gains. The restoration and expansion of oceanic birch, hazel and oak woodlands into a connected thread across the landscape is a key objective.

Culag Woods and The Assynt Foundation will be working together to develop a tree nursery at Little Assynt, with a sub-nursery at Glencanisp to provide locally-grown trees from local seed. The scheme will also help crofters and other local land managers make plans and access government grants for tree planting.

The scheme will take wildlife conservation in a new direction looking at the bigger picture of ecosystem-scale conservation and including work which creates economic opportunities for local people. Arts and crafts play a major role in the economy of this fragile area, with many artisans drawing inspiration and raw materials from the land. The project's cultural dimension will include artists in residence, support for the use of Gaelic and a festival of local produce. The importance of the coastline is also recognised, with plans to survey marine resources and research oral history.

Scheme area: 60,000 hectares

Trust reserves within the scheme

Ben Mor Coigach

This scheme is helping species including...

Golden eagle, black throated diver, Scottish wood ant, wild cat, freshwater pearl mussel and basking shark.

Partners

The Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape is a partnership project between the Assynt Foundation, Culag Community Woodland Trust, Eisg Brachaidh Estate, John Muir Trust, Kylesku estate, Tanera Mor and Scottish Wildlife Trust. These landowners have joined forces to work together to deliver one of the largest ecosystem restoration project in Britain – an aspirational 50-year plan to bring woodland connectivity, species-rich flora and fauna, and economic growth back to the Scottish uplands.

This scheme is also...

Helping wildlife adapt to climate change, storing carbon, providing employment oportunities and skills training.

To find out more, contact:

Tel: 0131 312 7765

Send an email
 

Living Landscapes

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Living Landscape schemes

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Search our directory of more than 100 Living Landscape schemes around the UK, the Isle of Man and Alderney.