Woodland Trust Scotland has taken over care of a prominent Oban hill, completing a suite of Scottish rainforest sites stretching from Argyll to Skye.
Dunollie Wood is an 80 acre ancient woodland occupying two small hills on the northern edge of Oban. The wood is visible from the land and the sea.
The Trust has been gifted the land on a peppercorn rent from Dunollie Estate for 99 years from this week. Dunollie Wood sweeps down to the sea from the hills of Oban.
Dunollie will fit into a chain of Woodland Trust Scotland sites up and down the west coast showcasing Scotland’s rainforests – lush native woods dependent on clean air and high rainfall. These are Uig Wood on Skye, Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in Lochaber, Ben Shieldaig in Torridon (which the Trust hopes to complete purchase on soon) and Crinan Wood in Argyll.
Woodland Trust Scotland director Carol Evans said: “We want to prioritise the conservation of such coastal native woods across the west coast – using our own suite of five directly-managed sites as beacons of best practice.”
Dunollie is home to small areas of Atlantic oak wood, hazel wood and birch, which supports a spectacular range of plants, ferns, mosses, lichens and flowers. Bird life in the area includes sea eagle, golden eagle and great spotted woodpecker – summer migrants may include cuckoo, redstart and tree pipit. Pine marten, red squirrel, brown hare, hedgehog, bats and the common toad are also in residence. Otter can be seen from time to time along the nearby sea shore.
Scotland’s rainforest is a unique habitat of ancient and native woodlands, open glades, boulders, crags, ravines and river gorges dappled by sunlight, dripping with moisture and garlanded with rare lichens, mosses, liverworts, fungi and other plants.
Woodland Trust Scotland will hold a drop in session in Oban in May to outline its plans and hear from local people. A more detailed management plan will be consulted on before the end of the year. There will be volunteering opportunities for local people to take part in woodland conservation and community engagement.