Glenfinnan Habitat Improvement Project

Glenfinnan Habitat Improvement Project

Network Rail Scotland is investing more than £300,000 with Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) ­- the Scottish Government agency responsible for managing Scotland's national forests - to complete the most ambitious biodiversity enhancement project that Scotland's Railway has ever undertaken.

The project area sits within Scotland’s endangered Atlantic rainforest zone in the shadow of the iconic Glenfinnan viaduct .



About the area

FLS manages national forest land neighbouring the iconic railway line from Fort William to Mallaig, and Drumfern to Callop Woods southeast of Glenfinnan. This land forms part of the dramatic setting of the Glenfinnan viaduct, and is highly visible from the train line. Areas within it are accessible via footpaths from the Loch Shiel monument around 500 metres away.

This area is steeped in history and is rich in biodiversity, including six environmental and landscape designations. These designations from NatureScot reflect the fact that these are habitats of national and international importance.

The Glenfinnan sites are within Scotland’s rainforest zone which is the focus of a new large-scale campaign to save this globally important habitat from extinction. Priority native habitats within Glenfinnan sites include the designated but threatened Caledonian pinewoods, Atlantic oak woods, ancient alder wet woodlands along the river, and recovering peatlands.

These habitats are home to a wide range of notable species such as otter, which is a European protected species, and UK Priority butterflies such as the Pearl-bordered fritillary and chequered skipper. Eagles and ospreys are a regular sight. There is not only scope to protect and enhance these existing priority areas, but also opportunities to expand these woodland and peatland habitats further still to increase resilience and aid recovery of biodiversity.