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Rewilding the Scottish Highlands

Trees for Life raised £2 million through a bond offer on the crowdfunding platform in 2021 to part-fund a rewilding visitor centre on the Dundreggan estate.  Corporate finance manager Diana Gerry reports back on the progress of the project. 
  • Blog

- 29 March 2022


After working with Trees for Life since the summer of 2020, Triodos corporate finance manager Diana Gerry finally got the opportunity to visit the charity’s Dundreggan estate in the Highlands of Scotland and meet the Trees for Life team.

Trees for Life raised £2 million through a bond offer on the crowdfunding platform in 2021 to part-fund a rewilding visitor centre on the Dundreggan estate.  This was part of a £5 million project, with the remaining funds coming from grants, donations and the charity’s cash reserves. Construction of the visitor centre, which is due to open in spring 2023, began in September last year.

Diana visited the site in November last year, where she could see the construction well underway with the groundworks almost complete. Since then the steel frameworks of the buildings have also been erected so the buildings are really starting to take shape. Construction during the winter in the Scottish Highlands can be challenging due to the weather and daylight hours, and Diana witnessed this first-hand as it snowed during her visit. Despite this, the construction partners are making good progress and the centre is on track to open next spring.

It is hoped that the rewilding centre will welcome over 70,000 visitors annually by 2030, all of whom will be able to explore the wild landscapes, discover Gaelic culture and learn about the region’s unique wildlife. The centre will also benefit the local community and economy by providing jobs and attracting more visitors to the area.

Dundreggan is a 10,000 acre estate which the charity acquired in 2008. The estate had been heavily overgrazed by deer and was bereft of trees. Since then, Trees for Life has planted over 335,000 native trees and increased populations of native wildlife such as black grouse. In 2020, golden eagles successfully bred at the estate for the first time in 40 years. The charity has developed a native tree nursery at Dundreggan, which grows 60,000 trees a year.

The visitor centre will cover around five of the 10,000 acres at Dundreggan and will provide vital income to support the rewilding work being undertaken at the estate. The current woodland cover at Dundreggan is 26% and the charity plans to increase this to 41% over the next ten years with plans for a further 1,500 acres of planting.  
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