Photo by Organic Trees

Atlantic Hazelwood

A 14-acre (5.5 ha) Atlantic Hazelwood lies to the south west of the site, fringing the sea. This was surveyed as part of the planning process by the Morvern-based woodland expert, Donald Kennedy.

Donald’s report concluded that  “the biodiversity value of the wood as a whole is clearly high.”

“In the British Isles Atlantic Hazelwood occurs only in limited areas on the Atlantic seaboard of the West Highlands (with some sites known in western Ireland), especially on ridges or knolls, ravines and slopes just above the shoreline. It does not seem to occur anywhere else in Europe, and some key species have been found in only a very few sites elsewhere in the world.”

Over most of the area, the woodland mix “is composed exclusively of native tree and shrub species. Overall, it seems likely that little or no direct, deliberate woodland management intervention has ever occurred in the main parts of the wood.” This has resulted in a valuable assemblage of lower plants. In the upper, inland sections of the site, “mosses and liverworts overtake crustose lichens on middle-aged stems and, along with various (some dominant) leafy-lobed lichens of the Lobarion alliance, swaddle the oldest stems, as well as tree trunks and main limbs wherever they occur – together forming a luxuriant, festooning ecosystem. This is a system that has taken centuries to mature and indicates long-term woodland continuity.”

The woodland will remain managed by Ardtornish estate, and open for the enjoyment of the Achabeag community.

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