Glen Rosa to be fenced off

NTS in talks to re­cover lost land

The Arran Banner - - Front Page - Hugh Boag edi­tor@ar­ran­ban­ner.co.uk

‘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.

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Head ranger Kate Samp­son with the Glen Rosa plans.

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