Ground has been broken on a new rewilding centre, which will be located on the 10,000 acre Dundreggan estate in Glenmoriston

Here’s a wild thing to make your heart sing – the world’s first rewilding centre, which will be located on the 10,000-acre Dundreggan estate in the heart of the Highlands of Scotland, will open within a year.

The project is a prime example of rewilding in action. Exploited for centuries by sheep, cattle and deer grazing, the land is being nursed back to recovery under the stewardship of charity Trees for Life, which bought the estate in 2008.

Tree-planting programmes have reintroduced rare varieties to remote areas where they have all but vanished, while a reduction in grazing pressure is encouraging existing fragments of threatened Caledonian Forest – dubbed Scotland’s ‘rainforest’ – to thrive.

The new centre has been boosted by £2m of National Lottery funding, as well as support from Gaelic language body Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Trees for Life also raised £2m of investment via a bond offer on the Triodos Bank crowdfunding platform, and a further appeal has so far rustled up £32,000, well above the £25,000 target.

“2022 is an exciting year for all of us involved with the Rewilding Centre,” director Laurelin Cummins-Fraser, told Positive News. “We cannot wait to see the tangible results of the past four years of planning and fundraising. The most exciting moment will be opening the doors to our visitors and taking them along the journey we have created, to share the natural and cultural heritage unique to Dundreggan and provide opportunities to learn about and engage with rewilding.”

Artist's impression of rewilding centre

An artist’s impression of the Dundreggan Rewilding Centre. Image: Trees for Life

The estate is home to more than 4,000 animal and plant species, including rarities previously feared extinct in Scotland. Visitors will have a chance to explore an upgraded network of trails around Dundreggan, and the centre itself will boast interactive displays and even onsite accommodation. A unique reclaimed and Gaelic-inspired tree sculpture by Scottish sculptor Helen Denerley will be a focal point.

Steve Micklewright, Trees for Life’s chief executive, said: “Dundreggan Rewilding Centre will be a place for people from all walks of life to rewild themselves by exploring and enjoying a remarkable wild landscape in a beautiful Highland glen, and to spend time learning about the area’s unique wildlife and inspiring Gaelic history.”

Main image: Alex Baxter/Trees for Life 

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