Killundine press releases

PRESS RELEASE 08th JULY 2020

Morvern community granted £1M from Scottish Land Fund for Killundine Estate buyout bid

Caisteal nan Con, Killundine

Morvern Community Woodlands (MCW) have been offered a grant of £1M from the Scottish Land Fund towards the purchase of the 2,400 hectare (6000 acre) Killundine Estate in Morvern, a remote peninsula in the West Highlands with a population of around 350 people.

This is a unique proposal by a community to purchase a Highland estate which no-one is currently living on. The group has identified ownership of the estate as a key factor in creating housing and employment opportunities as well as driving forward projects to protect and restore the natural environment in one of the most remote parts of Scotland.

Veronique Walraven, chair of MCW, said: “We are very grateful for the support from Scottish Land Fund. Morvern is a fragile community with an ageing population and a falling school roll. Among other things, our plans for Killundine will bring business and housing prospects for young families. We now need to raise the additional capital of £1.7 million so that the people of Morvern – and the West Highlands more widely – can benefit from the opportunities this presents. This is important now more than ever.”

Killundine Estate is made up of hill ground which supports grazing for deer; pastures; conifer plantation and ancient semi-natural Atlantic hazel woodland.

Morvern Community Woodlands’ plans include a proposal to create new crofts, as well as harvesting timber, restoring estate buildings, regenerating native woodland and restoring peatlands. The restoration of the ancient native woodlands on Killundine, which are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest as part of Scotland’s rainforest and include one of the largest remaining populations of elm in Scotland, is of particular interest to the group. Tying the project into restoration of the Gaelic heritage of the area is also being proposed. The board of MCW is composed of volunteers with a high proportion of young people.

Adam Nicholson, author of Sea Room, said: “With a highly committed and knowledgeable community and an inspiring landscape that knits together hill and shore, Killundine represents a glowing opportunity to make something beautiful and life-enhancing, an example for the rest of Scotland.”

Morvern Community Woodlands now need to raise the remaining £1.7 million by October 2020 for the project to be successful.

The group have produced a short film to launch their fundraising appeal. Link here.

For further information, contact Alasdair Firth, Morvern Community Woodlands secretary, by email to: morverncommunitywoods@gmail.com or on 07741330540.

Visit morverncommunitywoodlands.org for more information

Veronique Walraven

PRESS RELEASE: 20th MAY 2020

Morvern community submits bid to Scottish Land Fund for £2.7M to take Killundine Estate into community ownership

Bluebells on Killundine

After three years of community effort, Morvern Community Woodlands (MCW) have submitted a £2.7M bid to the Scottish Land Fund to purchase the 2,500 hectare (6000 acre) Killundine Estate in Morvern.

The vision for the project is to create ‘a living, working 21st century estate promoting the re-population and regeneration of Morvern and the conservation of its natural environment’.

Morvern is a fragile community with an aging population and falling school roll. There is currently no-one living on the Killundine Estate and it supports no full-time local employment.

Tilly Painter Jones, one of the eight directors of MCW said ‘Killundine has been neglected for many years. This buyout will turn around a neglected estate and bring opportunities to local people. Post COVID-19 it will bring housing and jobs and reverse depopulation. It will increase the economic and environmental resilience of the peninsula and its people and help tackle other major issues like climate change.’

Tilly Painter Jones

The estate is made up of farmland, forestry, hills, woodland and five properties, all currently unoccupied. A feasibility study and detailed business plan completed as part of the bid have confirmed the viability of managing the estate as mixed farmland and woodland with the establishment of new crofts and affordable housing supported by income from timber.

A local resident from the nearby village of Lochaline resident commented, ‘Having my own croft would not only help me realise a life-long personal ambition, it would inspire the younger generation to come back into crofting. Productive use of land for agriculture, stock or arable is very important to me.’

It is the integration of modern crofting with sustainable, wildlife-friendly development that lies at the heart of the bid. In its first phase this includes: the sale of affordable housing plots, the creation of six new crofts, the development of a local tree nursery and wildlife tourism linked with the Scottish wildcat – for which Morvern is a priority area.

The bid has been the subject of extensive local consultation. It is supported by Ian Blackford MP and Kate Forbes MSP, Morvern Community Council and Morvern Community Development Company.

The outcome of application to the Scottish Land Fund for £2.7M will be decided later this month. 

Tilly Painter Jones and Jack

For further information, contact Alasdair Firth, Morvern Community Woodlands secretary, by email to: morverncommunitywoods@gmail.com or on 07741330540.

Visit morverncommunitywoodlands.org for more information