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RESTORING A LIVING LANDSCAPE - NATURE AT ALLADALE

Alladale Wilderness Reserve provides 23,000 acres of sheer, rugged beauty, where the balance of nature is returning. It is your true escape: Witness the panoramic views; explore the reforested Highland glens; breathe, and experience a wild landscape in recovery. For when we return to nature, we return to ourselves.
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
JOHN MUIR
Scottish Environmentalist, Philosopher and Naturalist

A NOTE ON ALLADALE’S VISION, FROM CUSTODIAN PAUL LISTER:

My first memories of rural Scotland came about in the early 1980’s, when I got involved with hind stalking (deer hunting) in Argyll over freezing winter weekends. On these trips, I began to understand the breakdown of Scotland’s ecology – a process that extends across 99% of the UK and much of mainland Europe. Over the last millennia, the forests which the Romans called, ‘The Great Wood of Caledon’ was cleared for fuel, industry, shipbuilding and livestock. With the forest habitat diminished, we set about eradicating all large carnivores, including wolves and lynx. The ensuing sterile ‘dead zone’ has today been taken over by deer and sheep – a shadow of its former richness.

In 2003 I was fortunate enough to buy Alladale – a 23,000 acre Victorian Estate at the end of the road, deep in the Highlands, just an hour’s drive from Inverness.
With the support of a dedicated and committed team we set about creating a Wilderness Reserve; over the last two decades we have planted a million native trees, restored damaged peatlands, brought back the red squirrel and established a wildcat breeding centre.We have hosted thousands of local teenagers for immersive 5 day outdoor experiences. Today our business model is centred around nature-positive tourism, and our four lodges host guests with interests from nature and wildlife to photography, fitness, yoga and even sometimes relaxation! Our aim is to help visitors connect to nature in a calm, stunning and restorative setting.
Photograph of Alladale custodian, Paul Lister.
Illustrated map of the reserve, revealing all the species, shrubs and activities you can expect to find.

A LIVING LANDSCAPE

In every detail, there are signs of the recovering ecosystem at Alladale. Look to the skies for golden eagles; search for rare orchids and twinflower; keep an eye out for black grouse and ptarmigan; and marvel in the wild spectacle of the Atlantic salmon run. Across the Reserve new saplings of Caledonian pine, rowan and birch are beginning to restore the forests.

To learn more about what you can expect to find, click on the image of each species below to explore the diversity of Highlands wildlife, native to Alladale.
Alder tree
ALDER
Alder is an important riparian tree that helps create much needed shade and add nutrients to Scotland's rivers.
Arctic Bearberry
ARCTIC BEARBERRY
Arctic bearberry, as its name would suggest, is typically found in the arctic, but it also thrives in the harsh arctic-like conditions of the Alladale high tops. The name "bearberry" for the plant derives from the edible fruit which is a favourite food of bears.
Arctic Charr
ARCTIC CHARR
A rare and highly conserved fish, Arctic charr can be found in some of Alladale's mountain lochs. Scotland is a stronghold for charr, with 258 Scottish lochs known to contain the species.
Aspen tree
ASPEN
Aspen is relatively rare in Scotland as it rarely sets seeds. It propages mostly from suckers that grow from the root system, so once its removed from an area it is slow to recolonise. Aspen is one of the priority species of Alladale's tree planting efforts.
Atlantic Salmon
ATLANTIC SALMON
Alladale has key salmon spawning grounds, which takes place from November to December. Salmon 'parr' live in Alladale's two rivers for two to three years before returning to the Atlantic. On their return legs, you can see them heroically leaping up Glencalvie Falls.
Badger
BADGER
The Reserve is home to many badgers which can be found on the glens, hillsides and even high tops.

OUR CONSERVATION PROJECTS

We continue to plant trees and restore peatlands, helping native habitats and species to return and flourish. Our partnerships with conservation groups and NGO’s support this restoration work. We also operate educational and outreach programmes for teenagers and adults from the region. It is our mission to inspire a new generation of environmental stewards.

REWILD YOURSELF

Activities at Alladale allow you to get closer to the natural world and reconnect with yourself.
Indulge your passions and get active in the untamed nature of the Reserve.
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FIELD NOTES FROM NATURE

Lake in AlladaleCharlie Ottley’s Wild Poems
Charlie Ottley – TV presenter, explorer, adventurer, even a poet – is a dear friend of Alladale’s.
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scenic view of trees and clouds in backgroundSuggested Reads, for the Wild
Breath in and the clean air soothes your mind, sharpens it, and attunes you to the rhythms of nature.
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Dying flowersBuilding Wilderness
Deep in the Scottish Highlands, a process of regeneration is taking place.
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