Highlands estate house back on market after rainforest centre plans fall through

Couldoran HouseCouldoran House
Couldoran House
The house, built for the son of a local landowning family in 1928, overlooks the start of the Bealach na Bà to Applecross

A ten-bedroom estate house in the Highlands will soon be back on the market after plans to turn it into "The Scottish Rainforest Centre" fell through.

Woodland Trust Scotland acquired Couldoran House in Wester Ross in 2021, as part of the purchase of the wider Couldoran Estate. Situated at the foot of the striking Corbett Beinn Bhàn, a potential buyer proposed to use the house as The Scottish Rainforest Centre (SRC), a standard bearer for conservation efforts across Scotland’s rainforest zone. However, the charity set up to establish the Centre has now withdrawn from the purchase. As a result, Couldoran House will soon be going back on the market.

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The house, built for the son of a local landowning family in 1928, overlooks the start of the Bealach na Bà to Applecross, about 90 minutes drive from Inverness.

George Anderson, spokesman for Woodland Trust Scotland, said today: "Anyone who has ever driven around the bend from Kishorn towards the start of the Bealach na Bà will have encountered a sweeping view of the white house set amongst woodland with a breathtaking mountain backdrop.

"It is an absolutely amazing location and the views outwards from the house are just as stunning. We wish to sell Couldoran House to someone whose plans align with our mission or contribute to the wellbeing of the local community and economy. Ideally both.

"Preference will be given to buyers wishing to use the building for a positive environmental or social purpose. Given its location close to the popular NC500 tourist route, Couldoran House has great potential as a lifestyle business or social enterprise.

"The Trust does not rule out a mainstream tourism or hospitality business but prefers a purchaser who will be on-site and active in the enterprise and the local community."Woodland Trust Scotland bought Ben Shieldaig, a 1752ft mountain with ancient native rainforest remnants on its slopes in 2019, citing its "vast potential" and wildlife including sea eagles, golden eagles, red squirrels, pine martens and otters. The neighbouring Couldoran Estate was added two years later, doubling the size of the property to create the combined estate now known as Gleann Shìldeag.

The Trust plans to restore and expand the existing native woodland, improve public access and establish a healthy and resilient mosaic of habitats. However, its interest is in the land where new woodland can be created and it does not wish to own buildings.The proposal to buy the 96-year-old house and turn it into The Scottish Rainforest Centre appeared to be an ideal solution, meshing perfectly with the Trust's work.

Couldoran House is set in the spectacular Wester Ross National Scenic Area and the Wester Ross UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, part of Scotland’s rainforest zone. The house would have been run as an educational hub providing accommodation for visiting students and researchers, hosting exhibitions and championing conservation of the rainforest zone. However, the charity set up to establish the SRC has withdrawn from the purchase. It is understood the plans were not sustainable under current interest rates.The SRC - the brainchild of internationally renowned Australian-born environmental lawyer and activist Kathryn Rae - is now in discussions regarding a permanent home elsewhere.

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