Wild land charity the John Muir Trust (JMT) has launched a new appeal to raise £25,000 for ecological restoration at their newest property, Glenlude in the Scottish Borders.
It's a small site of 140 ha, at present half planted forestry and half open moorland. The Trust's priorities at the site are to restore both the open moorland habitat and native woodland. The area is particularly important for Black Grouse, being part of a corridor between large populations in the Moorfoot Hills and the Buccleuch Estates. The JMT also hope to create an 'inspiring centre for activity', a non-residential space that conservation volunteers can use as a briefing area and for breaks.
'We want to raise the £25,000 by the end of 2011. We've had a great response so far from our members and other supporters, and further donations of any size are welcome. If we exceed our target this money will go towards conservation on our other properties' the JMT's Rory Syme tells us.
The property is close to the Southern Upland Way, and includes the summit of Glenlude Hill (470m). The JMT acknowldege that 'Glenlude could not be described as representative of core wild land in the same way as are other of the properties owned by the John Muir Trust. It has however a surprisingly wild and remote feel to it' they go on, 'and is on the edge of a vast tract of wild land in the west central Borders. To the west and south of Glenlude this stretches to Broad Law and Dollar Law in the Moorfoots and to White Combe and surrounding peaks in Dumfries and Galloway. From the summit of Glenlude Hill there is virtually no evidence of human settlement.'
In the Southern Uplands the JMT have already been involved with the work of the Borders Forest Trust, an environmental charity that manages ambitious habitat restoration projects like the 1500-acre Carrifran Wildwood scheme and a nearby project of similar scale at the Devil's Beef Tub - both of which seek to re-create entire valleys of species-rich mixed native woodland in an area denuded by centuries of overgrazing.
Glenlude was given to the JMT by previous owner Sheila Bell, who was born in Kampala in 1943 and led an interesting life as an airline pilot in Africa. Until her death last year she lived at Glenlude with no gas or running water while carrying out her own re-wilding plans - work that the JMT have now taken on. See this obituary on the Guardian website. It might be small, but with its diverse range of habitats in close proximity the JMT hope Glenlude may be an excellent wild land education facility.