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Trust in £8m bid to link estates

This list is almost 3 years old

Ambitious move by conservation charity

A conservation charity is looking to create an £8m estate to protect wildlife.

Woodland Trust Scotland wants to buy the 4,500-acre Couldoran Estate in Wester Ross.

 It neighbours land the charity owns at Ben Shieldaig and the purchase would connect the two creating a “superhighway” for red squirrels and other protected wildlife.

The trust would plant native trees at Couldoran to form a "mosaic of habitats" for wildlife to move through.

More than 1,000 acres (405 ha) could be planted with woodland.

The trust said the 4,500-acre (1,821 ha) Couldoran Estate was largely bare of trees. It has launched a public appeal to raise the funds needed to buy it.

Trust director Alastair Seaman said: "Next door at Shieldaig, we see birds such as golden eagle, peregrine, red-throated diver, greenshank and golden plover.

"Pine martens, water voles, badgers, red squirrels and mountain hares have also been spotted.

"If we can improve (tree) canopy cover at Couldoran, we expect to find many of these species moving in as their range and habitat improves and expands. Wildcats were in the area until the 1960s and we've heard of potential sightings more recently too."