Wild Strathfillan

Community Heritage Project


Financial Future for Wild Strathfillan – A Shared Vision

Wild Strathfillan, a new ambitious nature restoration project launched in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, has received substantial funding thanks to the Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland (FIRNS), which is co-funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with the Scottish Government and NatureScot.

Wild Strathfillan is led by Loch Lomond and The Trossachs Countryside Trust in partnership with over 30 land managers, local communities, NGO’s, and statutory bodies including the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority. The project is helping to transform an area of 50,000 hectares in the north of the National Park through habitat creation and restoration, helping to build a nature recovery network which will benefit the area’s iconic Scottish wildlife and the habitats they call home. Long-term, this work will help to increase resilience to climate change across the landscape and its communities.   Strathfillan is a particularly important place for nature restoration because of its unique and diverse range of habitats, which include temperate rainforest, montane scrub and the most southerly remaining Caledonian pinewoods. Its geographic location also means this landscape is a vital strategic piece in a much wider network of nature restoration initiatives across the Central Scotland landscape.

Wild Strathfillan aims to deliver successful nature restoration work alongside traditional rural industries that underpin the local economy and employ local people – for example, farming, forestry and deer stalking. Despite being representative of much of Scotland, there is currently no model for nature restoration at this scale in this type of landscape. Funding from FIRNS will enable the project to investigate possible long-term funding avenues and options for project governance.

The Trust’s Project Development Manager for Nature Restoration, Ellie Mayhew said:


“At the moment, most funding pots for nature restoration are short term – projects usually receive funding for a maximum of 5 years. We all know that restoring nature takes a lot longer than that. We’re interested in investigating the long-term funding possibilities that green finance could offer, which is one of the topics we’ll be addressing thanks to our funding from FIRNS”

Speaking on the development of Wild Strathfillan since its launch earlier this year she added:

‘Momentum has really gathered pace this year, with lots of great foundational work delivered by the partnership during the project development phase. The Wild Strathfillan partnership is comprised of a strong, diverse, and active group of partners who have helped develop a pipeline of practical projects to improve the condition and connectivity of habitats in Strathfillan.’

Amongst Wild Strathfillan’s innovative plans are the creation of a three-tiered model for partnership engagement and establishing a local enterprise for growing local provenance plants and selling local products, such as wild venison, which could create jobs and help to support rural livelihoods. FIRNS will enable the delivery of a research study to investigate the possibility of a Wild Strathfillan Community Interest Company (CIC) to oversee such an enterprise and explore other circular economy opportunities in the area.

A key part of the project has already begun with the creation of a specialist plant nursery located at Glenfalloch, where native tree species are currently growing. Volunteers and staff have planted locally collected seeds – including Oak, Rowan and Caledonian Pine – which will grow into trees that are adapted to thrive in the local conditions. These trees will eventually be planted out across the Strathfillan landscape, expanding native woodlands and creating wildlife corridors. The nurseries will also propagate some of the region’s rarer non-woody plants, like Globeflower, which produces bright yellow, spherical blooms in early summer.

Kelly Clapperton-Bates, Development Officer speaking on behalf of the Strathfillan Community Development Trust who have been integral to the project from the beginning said:

‘The FIRNS funding news is very positive and will provide additional capacity within Strathfillan Community Development Trust to be able to fully contribute to the community benefit element of this work. Our Strathfillan Community Place Plan highlights a lack of affordable housing, local employment, connections, and declining rural skills which are key concerns and issues for this area.  The number of young families are reducing; the population is ageing and declining in number. All of this is reducing the viability of essential services and facilities, such as the primary school, community hall, public transport, and the whole community.’

Praising the projects’ vision, she added:

‘Wild Strathfillan’s plans to take these issues into account will hopefully help to reverse the decline. The sooner that we can act, then the sooner we can start to work to address these issues by improving job opportunities, investment, and skills in the local area.   The work of Wild Strathfillan will celebrate the heritage of this fantastic area, supporting and respecting traditional rural livelihoods as well as investing in the ecological and financial future resilience of Wild Strathfillan.  We look forward to continuing to work closely with the partnership.” 

Simon Jones, Director of Environment & Visitor Services at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority, said:

“Our Future Nature Strategy sets out the National Park’s ambition to reverse the decline in nature by 2030 and restore nature by 2040. The Wild Strathfillan project is a great example of the large-scale action required to tackle biodiversity loss and protect the future of our natural environment. Developing public and private partnerships and green finance mechanisms will be crucial to delivery of this strategy and achievement of our landscape scale nature restoration goals.  We have been working closely with the Countryside Trust to identify potential funding streams to further this work in the National Park, and support delivery of projects including the work of Wild Strathfillan”.

Meanwhile, members of the Scottish Parliament welcomed the news and congratulated the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs Countryside Trust on the funding announcement at a motion lodged on Friday 29 September (S6M-10658).

To find out more about Wild Strathfillan, including upcoming volunteering opportunities, visit, www.trustinthepark.org/wildstrathfillan or contact Ellie Mayhew on info@trustinthepark.org.


To find out more about the overall aims and ambitions of the FIRNS programme visit www.nature.scot

What is Wild Strathfillan?


Wild Strathfillan is an ambitious partnership project aiming to deliver visionary landscape-scale nature restoration across approximately 50,000 hectares of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.


The Countryside Trust is working in partnership with land managers, local communities (including the Strathfillan Community Development Trust), NGOs, businesses and the National Park Authority to deliver this exciting project, which will span a range of habitats from mountain-top to loch-side.


With the only remaining iconic Caledonian pinewoods left in the National Park, some of the richest montane flora in the UK, peatland and riparian (river) habitats, Strathfillan is a unique and precious landscape. The area features many designated sites, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and Special Areas for Conservation (SACs), as well as the Breadalbane Mountains Important Plant Area.


However, despite their importance for biodiversity, many of these sites are now in unfavourable condition and their surrounding habitats have become degraded and fragmented. The area is greatly impacted by habitat fragmentation, overgrazing and the overarching threat of climate change.


Thankfully, the Strathfillan landscape has great potential for successful nature restoration and presents an excellent opportunity to link these unique and important habitats in the north of the National Park with other landscape-scale restoration projects, such as The Great Trossachs Forest on the east side of Loch Lomond. This will help to build a healthier, more resilient and better-connected nature recovery network across the National Park, in line with the aims of the National Park Authority’s new Future Nature Strategy.


The Countryside Trust are thrilled to announce that the project has received funding from NatureScot through their Nature Restoration Fund for a six-month development phase, which will run from December 2022 to May 2023. Their new Project Development Manager, Ellie Mayhew, will be overseeing this work.


The development phase will allow the project partnership to undertake surveys and feasibility studies in the project area to identify the best places to start with restoration work. They will also establish a specialist plant nursery at Glen Falloch to grow native plant species from locally collected seed to later plant out across the landscape to expand woodland cover and help to boost populations of key plant species in the area.


You can find out more about the Wild Strathfillan nature restoration project by visiting the project webpage.

Community Heritage Project

During the Community Place Plan consultations many residents said that they would like to see local heritage remembered, celebrated and preserved. To this end Strathfillan Community Development Trust is now working with the Countryside Trust to apply for funding to develop and deliver a Community Heritage Project which will deliver these ambitions. 

The Community Heritage Project will focus on how our landscape and community has changed over the years, and will provide the chance for everyone to get involved in a variety of fun and interesting activities, as well as providing training opportunities in range of techniques.

Our Community Heritage Project has three main aims:

With support from local volunteers, we will use an oral history approach to chart how the land and community has changed. This will be done by collecting memories, stories, photos, and documentary evidence, and engaging with residents, farmers, landowners, agencies and societies. We will capture oral histories from our oldest community members through interviews, and create narrative and video stories from them. We will also collect, collate and digitise an archive of community life, using old photographs, postcards and other memorabilia, and create an online platform to archive everything. Combined, this will produce a collection of evidence of the impacts of changing historical land-use and community.

We are hoping that many of you interested in the heritage and history of Strathfillan will like to take part. Perhaps you have old photos and maps to share, or memories and stories of life over the decades? Perhaps you have a secret passion for digging holes or looking at old maps? Anything you want bring to this project the better it will be.

If you have any questions or would like to get involved then please get in touch with Kelly at kelly@strathfillancdt.org.uk 

This project is supported by the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund, managed by NatureScot.