Dunnet Forest Print
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Monday, 05 April 2010 10:15

Dunnet Forest lies to the south of the village of Dunnet adjacent to the A836 Thurso to John O'Groats road, just inland from the beautiful sands of Dunnet Bay. The land was purchased in 1954 by the Forestry Commission, and planting began as an experiment into silviculture on poor soils - the initial intention was to create a much larger forest. The forest is part of the Dunnet Links SSSI; the owners, Scottish Natural Heritage, acquired the land from the Forestry Commission in 1984. The forest covers 104 hectares, around half of which has developed into mature forest, the remainder being a mosaic of open space, scattered trees and scrub woodland. A range of tree species were planted, but the forest is now dominated by Sitka spruce and Lodgepole, Corsican and Mountain pine, with a few broadleaf species, such as Sycamore.

Extensive, publicly accessible woodland is rare in this part of the world, and the physical development of the forest has been matched by its growth in importance as a recreational facility for locals and tourists, and as an educational resource for schools and the Highland Council Ranger Service. An EU-funded project in the late 1990s upgraded much of the evolving path network, and created an all-abilities trail.


However, the long-term future of the forest was threatened: where initial plantings have been most successful, the trees are reaching maturity and suffering from windthrow. Dunnet Forestry Trust has begun the process of "restructuring" the forest - clearing windblown areas, felling "at risk" stands, and restocking these and other areas with a mix of conifers and broadleaves.

 

Dunnet Forest Walk

Dunnet Forest is an area of mature coniferous forest containing a variety of pine and spruce species with some broadleaved trees such as sycamore and birch. Dunnet Forest lies to the south of the village of Dunnet adjacent to the A836 Thurso to John O'Groats road, just inland from the beautiful sands of Dunnet Bay. The area was planted by the Forestry Commission in the 1950s as an experiment in planting on poor soils, but is now managed by the local community for recreation and biodiversity.

Metal

Near the Dunnet end of Dunnet Links you will find the Dunnet Links National Nature Reserve. This includes a large wooded area complete with bridges and walkways, a good place for children and even toddlers should manage to toddle it! Dunnet Links is one of the largest sand-dune areas in the North of Scotland and the reserve hosts at least 230 different plant species, one of which is the Scottish Primrose which is only found on the North coast of Scotland and in the Orkney Isles.

Eagle


Dunnet forest is the most commented upon area by the public in Caithness. This is an indication of the quality of the recreational access resource provided by the Dunnet Forestry Trust, with all-ability, horse riding, walking and mountain bike users all being catered for with paths and trails in the forest. The roadside footway linking the forest to the caravan site and beach access point together with Dunnet village creates a well integrated access resource for locals and visitors alike.


totem

Name: Dunnet Forest


Habitat type: Woodland


What can I see there?


Dunnet Forest is an area of mature coniferous forest containing a variety of pine and spruce species with some broadleaved trees such as sycamore and birch. The area was planted by the Forestry Commission in the 1950s as an experiment in planting on poor soils, but is now managed by the local community for recreation and biodiversity.

Forest Track