SCOTS will have seen nothing like it. A huge forest of native broadleaf trees is to be planted that will take one of the most scenic parts of Scotland back to the Middle Ages.
The wood of oak, hazel, rowan, alder, willow, juniper, ash, bird cherry and aspen will take shape on the shores of Loch Katrine over the next 20 years using thousands of acres of land leased to the Forestry Commission.
The site at the heart of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is owned by Scottish Water, which says it no longer needs to manage the land to preserve the safety of the reservoir that supplies most of Glasgow’s water.
Once the forest takes root, it will merge with other nearby woodlands in a forest twice the size of Dundee. The aim is to turn the clock back more than 10 centuries to when most of lowland Scotland was covered in native broadleaf trees.
The handover will be announced tomorrow by the Scottish Executive’s forestry minister Lewis Macdonald, who said: "This is a win-win deal for all concerned, most importantly for the people of Scotland. The Loch Katrine property is the largest single landholding taken into Forestry Commission management for more than 30 years.
"Scotland lost nearly all of its original woodland as our ancestors cleared the land for farming, settlements, industry and development, so that we have only about 1% or 2% of this priceless natural asset left today.
"It’s wonderful that at Loch Katrine we can make such a significant contribution towards replacing some of that lost heritage. In decades to come it will become one of the jewels in the crown of the national park."
Scottish Water’s chief executive Dr Jon Hargreaves said the new forest was an exciting project which would protect and enhance the natural environment of Loch Katrine.
"This is a wonderful part of Scotland, and the future development of this land will offer significant benefits for the nation as a whole.
"It is also good for Scotland’s water customers, because this now allows Scottish Water to focus on our main priority, which is to provide clean, safe drinking water and achieve greater efficiencies for our customers."