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New National Nature Reserve will be UK's largest

Last modified: 13 August 2015

Great Trossachs

The UK’s newest and largest National Nature Reserve (NNR) – The Great Trossachs Forest – took a step closer to reality today (13 August), after it was approved by the Board of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The Great Trossachs Forest NNR, which lies at the heart of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, is home to magnificent wildlife in an area within an hour’s drive for 80% of Scotland’s population.

Speaking after the Board meeting, Ian Ross, the SNH chairman, said: “I’m delighted that our Board has today given the go-ahead to the new Great Trossachs Forest NNR. Covering 16,500 hectares it will be Scotland’s largest reserve, with a variety of wildlife, habitats, and landforms, including some of national or international importance such as ancient woodland, wet woodland and upland wood pasture.

“However, as well as being such an ecologically important site, The Great Trossachs Forest NNR clearly displays the key features associated with a NNR – it is nationally important, well managed and is inspiring and accessible to the public, offering a host of attractions for visitors to experience, savour, and enjoy. This stunning location is an inspirational backdrop for people to responsibly enjoy Scotland’s outstanding natural heritage.”

Scotland’s newest reserve covers a swathe of land from Inversnaid on the east bank of Loch Lomond, through Loch Katrine and Glen Finglas and almost as far as Callander.

The Great Trossachs Forest is owned and managed by RSPB Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and the Woodland Trust Scotland. With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the partners are restoring the ground to a more natural mosaic of open hill ground and woodland.

The habitat restoration programme will help species in decline, such as black grouse, and allow for a richer diversity of wildlife and plants in years to come. Wildlife in The Great Trossachs Forest includes black grouse, golden eagle, osprey, pine marten, red squirrel, water vole and otter.

Sue Morris, Project Manager for The Great Trossachs Forest said: ”This accolade reflects the hard work that the partner organisations have put in to creating a major new forest that successfully balances the needs of wildlife with opportunities for recreation and tourism in the area.

“We have a 200 year vision to create new woodland and other natural habitats on a landscape scale, ensuring that future generations can enjoy the outstanding natural heritage that the Trossachs have to offer.”

Meanwhile, the SNH Board also agreed a proposed extension to The Flows NNR in Caithness and Sutherland. The proposed 3,960-hectare extension to The Flows NNR – owned by RSPB Scotland – includes a number of parcels of land that are adjacent to the existing NNR.

The Flows NNR is currently benefiting from a massive investment in peatland restoration and visitor facilities offering improved opportunities for engagement through volunteering, education and remote access. 

The Peatlands Partnership’s £10.5 million, Heritage Lottery funded, Flows to the Future project has recently completed a stunning new viewing tower – The Flows Lookout – at Forsinard and has also just commissioned a series of other exciting projects for visitors, including a new field centre with accommodation and work facilities for volunteers and research students studying peatlands across The Flow Country. 

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