Glen Rosa to be fenced off
NTS in talks to recover lost land
‘This project is all about conservation. We have no intention of spoiling the vistas’
A plan to fence off a large area of Glen Rosa as part of a major conservation project has been unveiled.
The National Trust for Scotland is discussing the proposals with community groups on the island in a bid to let as many people as possible have their say.
Under the plans, which have yet to receive final approval, 400 hectares of the glen would be ringed with a new electric fence to allow replanting in the glen, which has been overgrazed for many years by deer and sheep.
However, the fence, which would be split-level, would be low in height to make it as unobtrusive as possible. It would also mean that the three small enclosures in Glen Rosa, where tree planting was started 15 years ago, could be opened up again.
The plan would cost the trust in the region of £150,000, which would be paid for by funding from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who will contribute £116,000, and the Leslie Wheeldon Bequest.
If final permissions are granted from the landowners, including Arran Estates and the Foresty Commission, work on the fence could start in August, with tree planting over the winter months.
However, head ranger at Brodick Castle and Country Park, Kate Sampson gave the assurance: ‘This project is all about conservation. We have no intention of spoiling the vistas and views in the glen by planting wall-to-wall trees.’
Indeed, only 40 hectares of the 400-hectare site will be planted with trees native to Arran – mainly upland birch, but also hazel, aspen and whitebeam.
These will be planted in areas where there is ‘good
evidence’ there would have been trees in the past and are shown in dark green on the diagram (above). Areas of scrub will also be planted with juniper and the like, and there will be extensive restoration of the peat hags and bogs.
A lot of survey work has been carried out in relation to birds, vegetation and insects, and one section of the glen, below Glenshant Hill, will be left just as it is – as it is a ‘priority’ area for the winchat, adders, a minotaur beetle and a number of archaeological sites.
Kate told the Banner. ‘We are aware this is a significant part of Arran, but we want to recover some of the island’s lost landscape.
‘That is why we are talking to as many people as possible during the engagement stage.
‘We also want to get as many volunteers as possible to help us with the tree planting, including children from the schools.
‘We want people to feel they are part of the project and a good way of doing that is to help plant the trees.’
Kate said that from a walker’s perspective, the three present fence enclosures would be replaced by one fence line which would be kept as unobtrusive as possible. She also said there would be a number of access points along the fence and that she was talking to walkers and was open to suggestions over where these should be. The electric fence will be powered by solar panels.
‘It will be less intrustive than what is there just now,’ she added.
The fence would be ‘temporary’ in nature but, given the slow nature of tree growing, that would mean it would be in place for around 30 years.
Head ranger Kate Sampson with the Glen Rosa plans.