The first trees were planted at Glencoe Wood in 1992 under a Woodland Grant Scheme “Special Management Grant”.
The application had to meet the high standards of environmental protection and practice set out in the Forestry Commission’s guidelines. The main species selected were Sitka Spruce, Japanese Larch and a mixture of native broadleaved trees.
Glencoe Wood was then purchased by Highland Titles in 2007. Although the land afforded some beautiful views, it was largely inaccessible having been used for commercial forestry. The land was observed to be densely planted with the non-native conifers which blocks out the sunlight from the forest floor and prevents other plant species and wildlife from thriving.
Transforming this land into a Nature Reserve was clearly a long-term project and required a Five Year Plan, which was published by Dr Peter Bevis in 2008 and completed in 2013.
Keil Hill is now the site of the first Highland Titles Nature Reserve and attracted over 6000 visitors in 2014, all of whom enjoyed our pleasant and informative ‘meet and greet’ service, which is staffed by local volunteers who assist our visitors in finding their very own plot of land. This Nature Reserve project was nominated for the Nature of Scotland Awards 2014 – an event organised by RSPB Scotland and sponsored by The Crown Estate.
The popularity of the visitor experience is evident from over 100 5-star Trip Advisor reviews, which resulted in our being awarded the Certificate of Excellence in 2015.
Of course, a great deal of time, money and work has gone into achieving this goal. Amongst other things, Highland Titles has:
- Installed several miles of access tracks and paths
- Planted thousands of native broadleaf trees
- Created a 3-acre lochan (lake)
- Constructed observation hides
- Started planting the 60-acre Diamond Jubilee Wood
- Created and installed interpretive signage and benches at viewpoints
- Installed motion-sensitive infra-red wildlife cameras
Some of this work can be seen on our Street View tour, photo gallery and Facebook page: