The world’s first rewilding centre has been opened near one of Scotland’s most famous lochs – with the charity behind the project hoping it can show how nature recovery can inspire people as well as benefit rural communities and create jobs.
The Dundreggan Rewilding Centre in Glenmoriston, near Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, will host a series of events on Saturday to celebrate its opening.
The centre, eight miles from the loch on the A887, is designed to offer a gateway for visitors to explore the 10,000-acre Dundreggan estate, where charity Trees for Life is restoring the Caledonian forest and its wildlife.
Steve Micklewright, chief executive of Trees for Life, said for 15 years “Dundreggan has been a beacon for rewilding our landscapes” and that “now it will be a beacon for rewilding people too”.
He added: “We want to breathe life into the huge potential of the Highlands to help nature return in a major way – providing people from all walks of life with fantastic experiences while supporting re-peopling, boosting social and economic opportunities, and tackling the climate and nature emergencies.”
Some 20 new jobs have been created by the project, Trees for Life said, and it is hoped the centre will continue to boost the local economy as people not only visit but also stay in the 40-bedroom accommodation building on site.
The charity said the centre, which features a tree sculpture of reclaimed metal by artist Helen Denerley, offers a gateway to the wild forest with fully accessible trails, child-friendly forest experiences, and more adventurous walks.
Laurelin Cummins-Fraser, the centre’s director, said it is “embedded in the landscape and the community”.
She added: “Its design is inspired by Gaelic heritage and history, and by the Caledonian forest – with verticals representing trees, changing light to reflect how light plays in woodlands, and materials and colours conjuring up bracken and forest bark.”
Dundreggan is part of Affric Highlands, the UK’s largest rewilding landscape which will potentially cover more than 500,000 acres.