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Glen Finglas

Location:Glen Finglas

Habitats:Wood pasture, Upland

Livestock:Scottish blackface sheep, Luing cattle

In brief:Extensive "naturalistic" sheep and cattle grazing of upland wood-pasture

Contact:Adam Wallace

Tel:01877 376 340

Email:adamwallace@woodland-trust.org.uk

Weblink:www.woodland-trust.org.uk/glenfinglas/home.html


Glen Finglas sits at the heart of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Traditionally an estate for Scottish kings and nobles, some 400-year-old trees survive to this day making this one of Britain’s largest surviving areas of upland wood pasture. At Glen Finglas, The Woodland Trust Scotland’s vision as owners and managers of the site is to protect and restore this ancient landscape for future generations, planting ½ million trees and managing deer, sheep and cattle grazing.

The long term vision for Glen Finglas revolves around a dynamic wood pasture system incorporating a wide variety of wooded and non-wooded habitats, allowing the proportion of woodland and open ground to expand and contract over time, in response to natural processes. Given this vision for the site the key feature for the biodiversity interest will be the wood pasture and therefore the primary management will be grazing by wild deer and domestic livestock Glen Finglas has been managed by mixed grazing for centuries, and before settlement, would have been grazed by wild animals such as wild cattle (auroch), elk, wild boar and red deer for millennia. It is this natural grazing, but more particularly the extensive, pastoral system of settlers to the Glen that has created the wood pasture habitat that still remains, albeit it now in a degraded state. In more recent history, from the end of the 18th century onwards, upland livestock farming has become increasingly dominated by large-scale, commercial sheep farming in this area.

In line with the proliferation of upland sheep grazing elsewhere in the UK, the landscape of Glen Finglas became tightly grazed and wildlife-impoverished. Indeed at the time of purchase by the Trust, Glen Finglas was reported to be one of the most heavily grazed upland estates in Scotland with over 5000 animals on its 4000ha, over 4900 of which were sheep. As a result much of what remains of the wood pasture at Glen Finglas is alder, the most unpalatable of native tree species and as such one that is the most resistant to grazing pressure.

Glen Finglas is not a re-wilding project. Rather it is an extensive and naturalistic grazing system in which sheep grazing will cease to dominate and where a mixed grazing regime will seek to harness the benefits of different types of grazing animals.

Currently management involves management of the wild deer population and a herd of 66 Luing cattle and a flock of around 1800 Scottish Blackface sheep (with stocking levels of about half a ewe per hectare). with plans to reduce sheep numbers to around 300 and increase cattle numbers to around 100 over the next five years. They lamb, calve and are overwintered outside.


Further information on the grazing system at Glen Finglas is available on the Glen Finglas website in the shape of the Grazing Management Plan.  You can access this by clicking here :

Or you can click here to read a fascinating article on conservation grazing at Glen Finglas entitled ‘Up on the farm - Grazing by cattle and sheep is the best way to conserve the historic wooded landscape at Glen Finglas in the Trossachs ‘. This was first published in the Woodland Trust's Broadleaf magazine.