Unfortunately, Conservation Weeks will not be running in 2020. We are very sorry about the disappointment and any inconvenience this will cause.
Trees for Life – Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts and actions
Unfortunately, Conservation Weeks are cancelled for the rest of the year. We are very sorry about the disappointment and any inconvenience this will cause, but we are sure you will understand the reasons for making this decision. View our full Coronavirus policy, impacts and actions here.
“My week at Dundreggan was one of the most rewarding and inspiring experiences in my life. I’ve learnt so much about trees, nature in general and this incredible country. My body, mind and soul have been nourished and stimulated – I’m returning home fitter with a clearer mind and inspired to use what I’ve learned to make my home from a better place for nature.”
Take part in a variety of exciting activities to help restore the Caledonian Forest. Plus, learn about rewilding and forest restoration.
Dundreggan is the Trees for Life flagship forest restoration project and a centre for rewilding. Near Loch Ness in beautiful Glenmoriston, this 10,000-acre expanse of spectacular land was purchased by Trees for Life in 2008.
Dundreggan contains substantial areas of ancient woodlands, including remnants of the original Caledonian Forest, superb birch-juniper woodlands and the largest expanse of dwarf birch in Scotland. By planting trees at Dundreggan and encouraging natural regeneration, we aim to create an unbroken native woodland link between Glen Moriston and Glen Affric. Our ambition is to develop Dundreggan into one of Scotland’s finest native woodlands, abundant in wildlife, and protected for generations to come.
Your week here will comprise a mixture of three to four days native tree planting up on the hills and one to two days working in our tree nursery. The schedule may vary depending on the weather and other tasks that may arise such as fence maintenance, survey of native species and removal of invasive trees and plants.
Our planting is presently focused in our new high elevation exclosure (an area fenced to keep the deer out) on the slopes of Beinn Bhan (Gaelic for the White Mountain). A reasonable level of fitness is required as the terrain is rough and boggy.
A most exciting project – our highest planting site to date, which will include scarce dwarf willows produced in our nursery – to restore the montane habitat above our other forest planting sites on Dundreggan Estate
Accommodation is located in Dundreggan Lodge. 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 kitchen, a large lounge/dining area, two en-suite shower rooms and two other shower/toilets. There is plenty of hot water for the end of a hard day’s work, and drying areas for wet clothes.
The Common Room has a large wood burner for cosy evenings in – and on clear evenings we can light the fire outside. 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.
Opportunities for your time off
Wednesday is normally a rest day and there are a variety of things to do. Take a leisurely stroll over the estate to a couple of peaks with magnificent views; visit Fort Augustus and possibly walk the Great Glen Way back to Invermoriston for a pint or a cup of tea whilst waiting for collection; plant some more trees (for those who didn’t get enough in the first three days); hang out in the lodge by the fire.
Dundreggan has an increasing population of birds, mammals and insects.
We have an infra-red camera for night spotting of our resident pine martens; a young golden eagle has recently made Dundreggan its home; red deer roam the hills and there are wild boar around too (but only at night and away from the accommodation). There are finches and many other birds including buzzards and cuckoos, red and black grouse and owls hooting in the trees at night. Bats, swallows and swifts haunt the eves of some of the old outbuildings.
We also have some rarer species of insect which include the non-biting midge (really!) and the strawberry spider in addition to the giant juniper aphid unique in Scotland to the Dundreggan Estate.
The pick-up point is the central concourse of Inverness railway station at 1pm on the Saturday (start date of your week). You’ll need to make your own travel arrangements to get there, which may mean travelling to Inverness on the Friday and organising your own accommodation for that night. The Conservation Weeks take place some distance from Inverness, so it’s not possible to return and pick up volunteers later. Similarly, it isn’t possible to drive back to Inverness before the final Saturday. Therefore, please commit to the whole week if you wish to attend. For accommodation and local travel information contact Inverness tourist office (01463 234353). The Bazpackers Hostel (01463 717663) in Inverness and the Inverness Student Hotel gives a discount to Trees for Life volunteers. We return to Inverness railway station between 10-10:30am on the following Saturday.
If you have any queries or problems regarding your booking, please call us on 01309 691292. If you experience any problems or delays on the Saturday morning of your Conservation Week and are going to be late please call 07765 060525 (for Dundreggan weeks) or 07760 119357 (for all other weeks).
Please remember, as there are only ten places available on each week it is very important that we are notified of any cancellation or change in your booking (condition of health, change of medication, injuries etc) as soon as possible, as we may be able to fill your place or amend your booking.
- Warm sleeping bag or bedding – depending upon location:
- Glen Affric volunteers should bring a pillow case and sleeping bag.
- Dundreggan volunteers should bring a pillow case, single duvet cover and bed sheets.
- Wellies and/or waterproof walking boots – many volunteers find warm and comfortable wellies are the best option, bringing both is a good idea.
- Waterproof Jacket and Trousers
- Two sets of warm working clothes – not jeans! (cold, wet weather is a possibility)
- Day pack (small rucksack)
- Vacuum flask
- Sandwich box for packed lunches
- Container for drinking water
- Warm hat + gloves or sun hat (think about the time of year of your Conservation Week/s)
- A warm change of clothes for evenings
- Towel, soap, toothbrush etc
- House shoes/slippers
- Torch (ideally a headtorch)
- Speciality foods if you are on a restricted diet or have any allergies or intolerances.
- Midge repellent, (necessary during May, June and September)
- Gaiters (useful for tick avoidance) *
- Hot water bottle *
- A camera *
- Extra snacks, such as chocolate, crisps, fruit bars etc *
* These items are optional
Q1. Can I bring my own car?
Under some circumstances and only through prior arrangement with office staff. We would prefer you to not bring a vehicle. There is often limited parking at the accommodation for our Conservation Weeks and the access tracks are not suitable for cars so we do ask that you please contact us first. We collect volunteers from Inverness train station at 1pm on the Saturday at the start of the week and you will not need a car during the week. Therefore, if you are able to get public transport to and from Inverness then this is preferable. Please ensure you’ve had lunch before meeting as you will most likely go on a walk after the drive to your accommodation.
Q2. What food is provided?
We provide food for the week and a large selection of vegetarian food is available. Meals are cooked on a voluntary rota basis by volunteers and group leaders.
Q3. Can I bring meat with me to eat on the Conservation Week?
You are welcome to bring cooked lunch meats with you for packed lunches, discussing appropriate storage with the group leaders. However, we do ask that you don’t bring any raw meat with you as all cooking on the Conservation Weeks is vegetarian.
Q4. Will there be WiFi available?
There is limited WiFi available on our Conservation Weeks based at Dundreggan however WiFi is often intermittent and unreliable. There is generally an agreement on weeks to refrain from using devices in the common areas. Athnamulloch cottage in Glen Affric has no WiFi… bliss.
Q5. Will there be mobile phone signal?
Depending on the location, mobile phone signal is often intermittent and unreliable (please check with your network provider for network coverage).
Q6. Will I have to share a room?
The likelihood is that you will probably have to share a room with at least one other volunteer during your Conservation Week. Accommodation is dormitory-style, with either bunk-beds single beds. We try to ensure that shared rooms are single-sex.
Q7. Can I share a room with my friend/ partner?
If you are coming on a Conservation Week with a friend or partner and you would like to share a room with them, please let us know as soon as possible and we will try and accommodate this.
Q8. Do you have weeks available for families?
Unfortunately, at the moment we cannot accommodate anyone under the age of 18 on our Conservation Weeks.
Q9. Can I join a week part way through?
The first day of the Conservation Week is spent travelling to the accommodation, and stopping for an introductory walk along the way. Once at the accommodation, volunteers have a chance to get settled in and are then are given a talk about the site, Health and Safety, what the week will involve and any rules. Therefore, it is not feasible for volunteers to miss this first day and so if you are not able to join us for this, please try and find an alternative week.
Q10. Do I need to bring waterproofs even though I’ve booked a Conservation Week in May/ August?
The weather in the UK, and Scotland in particular, is very unpredictable. We would strongly recommend that you bring waterproofs, wellies and warm clothing, even if you are booked onto a “summer” week. Alternatively, you may have a beautiful week with no rain and high temperatures, so please just come prepared for any eventuality check the Essentials list.
If you have any medical conditions, specific dietary requirements, mental health issues or are taking medication we need to know. Details are held in the strictest confidence. Please fill out the relevant section online when booking, or call the office in advance on 01309 691292. The vast majority of people can be accommodated, but we need to be made aware beforehand.
Conservation Week Booking Terms and Conditions
Please read our terms and conditions before completing your booking.
We will contact you to confirm your Conservation Week booking, and will ask you to sign a declaration form and inform us of your travel plans. This information is vital for the smooth running of your week.
- Conservation Week participants must be 18 or over.
- Cancellations or transfers made 6 weeks or more before the Conservation Week start date will receive a full refund minus a £10 administration charge. Cancellations or transfers made between 6 and 4 weeks before the start date will receive a 50% refund minus a £10 administration charge. Transfers or refunds cannot usually be given for any cancellations made within 4 weeks of the start date. As there are only ten places available on each week it is very important that we are notified of any cancellation or change in your booking as soon as possible, as we may be able to fill your place. If you pull out of the week without notifying us, the group’s work will be affected by your absence and there will be financial implications for us.
- We need to know if you have any medical condition or have any mental or physical disabilities or any previous injuries which may affect your ability to work, and whether you are taking medication. We may contact you to discuss this. Details are held in the strictest confidence. Please fill out the relevant section on the booking form and inform the office of any changes that occur in the period leading up to your Conservation Week. The vast majority of people can be accommodated.
- Volunteers are covered for public liability and limited personal accident cover. Our insurance does not cover your personal belongings nor cover your free time activities.
- Please commit to the entire week, which runs from Saturday to Saturday. We have essential introductory briefings on the first day and a planned schedule of work for the week. If you arrive late or leave early it is very difficult for us to achieve our goals.
- You can do as many Conservation Weeks as you like but we don’t accept bookings for more than 2 consecutive weeks. This is due to the nature of the physical work you will be involved in, as well as group dynamics. We may contact you to discuss consecutive bookings.
- Although every effort is made to describe the details of each week accurately in our literature, it is occasionally necessary for Trees for Life to make changes at short notice to the work and accommodation. If you have any questions please contact us. Rarely, weeks are cancelled due to low numbers or factors outside of our control. In such cases we will try to let you know beforehand and offer an alternative week or full refund.
- Volunteers should act responsibly in both group and social settings throughout the week as you will be acting as representatives for Trees for Life. Recreational drugs are illegal and any use during the Conservation Week will not be tolerated. If alcohol is consumed we request that it is done in a responsible manner so as to not affect group or work dynamics.
- We reserve the right to refuse applications for Conservation Weeks or to ask a volunteer to leave if his/her behaviour is affecting the safety or general performance of the team. Volunteers may be responsible for any costs incurred through negligence.
- In the unlikely event of you having cause for complaint, you should first tell the Conservation Week leader. If the problem remains unresolved you should write to Trees for Life within 14 days of the end of the week and we will investigate further.
- Sorry but we cannot allow dogs on Conservation Weeks.
- Data Protection Act 1998: By agreeing to these terms and conditions you are giving your consent for TFL to process any personal data that you provide.