Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) is proposing to purchase Ardura Forest which has been placed on the disposal list by Forest Enterprise Scotland.
The forest includes land which is officially designated as Ancient Woodland and there are requirements on any owner for preserving and enhancing the land in future management.
The ancient woodland has a wonderful Gaelic name, “Doire a’ Chuilinn” which has been translated as “The Grove of the Holly”. Walking through the woodland, it is possible to see examples of very old holly trees as well as a number of new specimens.
The forest is surrounded by land owned by the Torosay Hill Estate (THE) which is owned by John Lister who is keen to establish links with and to engage with the local community, and a relationship with MICT will help facilitate this.
MICT is proposing to lease the forest to THE under a maintaining lease which provides full community access for a forest school, new footpaths, wildlife hide, nature trails and ranger led activities.
John has a 150 year vision for ecological restoration of ancient woodland. Ecologists will make recommendations of the most appropriate species to be planted to achieve this restoration. Core samples will be taken from the land to identify seeds from trees which were growing prior to being replaced with the exotic species planted by FES in the 1960’s. Ardura borders the river Lussa, on the opposite bank is the Mull Oakwoods, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
MICT and THE share a policy not to use Neonicotinoid chemicals in the forest in order to avoid any risk of damage to ecosystems and drinking water supplies.
This is a fantastic opportunity to create a new area for wildlife and biodiversity which we hope will enhance Mull as a wildlife destination.