"It was a beautiful week in which we achieved a lot in the nursery. I am excited by the scale of planting all coming from a small base."
Tree Nursery Weeks are held at Dundreggan, a 10,000 acre Conservation Estate that is owned by Trees for Life in Glen Moriston, near Loch Ness. Our Nursery is idyllically located next to a wildflower meadow and tranquil birch woodlands that invite exploration. We are growing a range of native trees for planting at our project sites, including rare species such as dwarf birch and woolly willow, and trialling innovative ways to propagate aspen, a beautiful but rare tree in the Caledonian Forest.
Tree Nursery Weeks are less physically demanding than our other Conservation Weeks, and are ideal for those who would like a more gentle option. Horticultural work focuses on trees and plants of the Caledonian Forest, with the varied activities including sowing seeds, potting and pricking out seedlings, helping with innovative propagation techniques and seed sorting. If you are a keen gardener then this is the week for you!
As on our other weeks, work starts just after 9 am and finishes at about 5 pm. The day is very relaxed, with regular opportunities for breaks as well as an hour for lunch.
Accommodation is in Dundreggan Lodge, located next to the nursery. The lodge is situated on the southern boundary of Dundreggan, overlooking the River Moriston. This comfortable and warm building has three bunkrooms, a well appointed new kitchen, a large lounge/dining area, two en-suite shower rooms and two other shower/toilets. You will also have access to our growing library and equipment such as camera traps, microscope, bat detectors, moth traps as well as our hide, where pine martens are regularly seen. There are benches and a fire bowl in the garden for those who fancy an evening by a fire. There will be daily chores such as collecting firewood, cleaning tools as well as cooking meals.=
Pillow case, duvet cover and bedsheets required.
One of the most popular activities is to visit our wildlife hide where you can observe pine martens, and many people take the opportunity to explore the estate, either the low level juniper walks or up into the hills and for those who are adventurous perhaps swim in the pool above Dundreggan Lodge or even in the River Moriston!
You could also visit the Loch Ness visitor centre in nearby Drumnadrochit, including the Nessie exhibition, or the famous Urquhart Castle is only 16 miles away and boat trips on the loch run from nearby Fort Augustus (local buses available). If you enjoy hiking, there are various Munros (mountain peaks over 3,000 feet in elevation) in the area.
Please note that the day off is also a day off for the leaders of the week. The minibus may sometimes be available for use as a group (cost to be covered by volunteers) but you may need to rely on local transport to reach some of these locations.
Dundreggan supports a remarkable array of species. Golden eagles are regularly seen on Conservation Weeks and recent weeks have also produced sightings of ospreys, ravens, merlins, tawny owls and peregrine falcons. Other bird species of note include the great spotted woodpecker, golden plover, Scottish crossbill, black grouse, snipe, goosander and woodcock.
For the mammal enthusiasts amongst you, Dundreggan is home to three species of deer (red, roe and sika), mountain hares, otters and pine martens. There is also a huge wealth of invertebrate species, including many that are rare and endangered.
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