Celtic rain­for­est full of magic and mys­tery

The Oban Times - - OUTDOORS -

TWO con­ser­va­tion char­i­ties have joined forces to share the se­crets of one of the UK’s rich­est and most mys­te­ri­ous habi­tats – the Celtic rain­for­est.

The Na­tional Trust for Scot­land, the char­ity that con­serves and pro­motes Scot­land’s her­itage, and Plantlife Scot­land, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that is speak­ing up for our wild flow­ers, plants and fungi, are hold­ing an event at Bal­macara in Wester Ross which will ex­plore the flora that thrives in the damp, an­cient forests of Scot­land.

Na­tional Trust for Scot­land ranger at Bal­macara es­tate, Gavin Skip­per said: ‘ You do not have to travel to Brazil to ex­pe­ri­ence a rain­for­est. There are amaz­ing ex­am­ples of the Celtic rain­for­est on Scot­land’s West Coast. They are teem­ing with life and just as fascinating.

‘ We hope that this ini­tia­tive high­lights these beau­ti­ful habi­tats to more peo­ple and en­cour­ages them out to ex­plore.’

Polly Phillpot, Plantlife Scot­land out­reach of­fi­cer, said: ‘ Plantlife is de­lighted to be work­ing with the Na­tional Trust for Scot­land in wel­com­ing peo­ple to en­joy the mys­te­ri­ous and mag­i­cal world of Scot­land’s unique Celtic rain­forests.

‘ We hope that the guided walks and leaflet we’re launch­ing will at­tract an in­creas­ing amount of peo­ple to dis­cover the hid­den gems of the Celtic rain­forests – small plants such as the tree lung­wort lichen or the del­i­cate prickly feath­er­wort, which is a species of liv­er­wort.

‘Many of the lichens, mosses and liv­er­worts that are found in these rain­forests are very rare in Europe, and some are glob­ally im­por­tant.

‘ Plantlife seeks to shine a brighter light on these amaz­ing small plants, in­clud­ing rare lichens such as the Nor­we­gian speck­le­belly, a UK pri­or­ity species, which is found at Coille Mhór.’

The Celtic rain­for­est will be re­vealed on guided walks and in a new leaflet.

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