Affric Highlands

Experience the magical unkown Scotland

Magnificent glens and montane woodland meet ancient pinewoods and meandering rivers in the central Highlands of Scotland. Nestled within remote, mountainous terrain lies a landscape-scale partnership of landowners committed to reinvigorating the wildlife and communities of the region. It is an area where nature is bouncing back after many years of decline.

Already home to some of Scotland’s best examples of ancient Caledonian pinewood, a patchwork of woodland, peatland, scrub, sub-alpine grassland and wetland will be restored. Rivers will be given more space to flow naturally and interact with the land.

Scotlands developing tourism industry is stretching its fingers and while the distilleries and highlands maintain their strong holds, the rest of magnificent Scotland is on the rise. 

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Affric Highlands

Scotlands developing tourism industry is stretching its fingers and while the distilleries and highlands maintain their strong holds, the rest of magnificent Scotland is on the rise. Rewilding is taking shape, lands are being returned to nature and nature based tourism is driving this movement.

Rewilding is now on the rise in Scotland, with lands returning to nature and nature- based tourism developing rapidly. Whether your interest stems from hiking and exploring the highlands, or venturing out onto the inner seas in search of dolphins, Scotland has it all. A rich heritage steeped in tradition and covering a vast array of scenery, this cultural melting pot is waiting to be discovered.

Rewilding vision

For each rewilding landscape Rewilding Europe has developed an inspiring vision that shows their ambition for the next ten years. Together with their local partners they work to make this vision a reality.

Drawing of Affric Highlands, Scotland by Jeroen Helmer

Recovery of a natural landscape

In the Affric Highlands rewilding area Rewilding Europe is working with local partners to transform bare hillsides into forests once again, after centuries of felling and overgrazing by deer and sheep, and restore the ancient Caledonian pinewood. Natural corridors like rivers and mountain ridges will become more wooded. Wild forests and scrublands, connected by naturally regenerating tree cover, will be creating increasingly rich areas of biodiversity. Plantations will be selectively replaced with native forest.

Drained and damaged peatlands are being mapped and rewetted so they become carbon sinks once more, and provide a new source of wetland habitat. A revived peatland landscape will also act as a vast store of water, holding it upstream and contributing to flood and drought mitigation.

Natural processes are evolving at scale, reconnecting pockets of habitat across the rewilding area – providing more corridors for wildlife movement across the whole landscape. A more complex grassland and scrub ecology is emerging, aided by the grazing of large herbivores. With grazing pressures from deer considerably reduced, natural regeneration is taking place over extensive areas, with more vegetation attracting pollinating insects and songbirds.
Affric Highlands
Greater Côa Valley frog

Trips to the Affric Highlands

Affric Highlands
Signature Journey
Affric Highlands & the Wild West Coast
Affric Highlands
Workshop Series
Affric Highlands


Affric Highlands
Signature Journey
Wild Cairngorms

“The essence of the nature, culture and communities of Scotland”

Alan McDonnell 

Programme Development Manager for Affric Highlands

How would you characterise your rewilding area?
Affric Highlands has been a vibrant landscape roamed by people and wildlife for thousands of years. From the depths of Loch Ness, over some of the highest mountains in Scotland, through long glens that cut all the way to our West coast, this is a really diverse landscape that still holds rich remnants of Caledonian pinewood, mountain woodland and peatland are home to iconic species like Golden eagles, black grouse and red deer. The people here are famed for their Highland hospitality and their knowledge of the land from centuries of hunting and fishing in these hills, it’s an ideal place to get to know the essence of the nature, culture and communities of Scotland.

What would you like to see achieved in your rewilding area in the next five years?
I very much hope to see the first steps being taken to restore forests and peatlands at scale in ways that people here will benefit from through new revenue streams for community businesses and landowners. Restoring eroded peatland and planting new woodlands, especially around our rivers will start to address climate change and create the conditions for species like salmon, otters and ospreys to start to thrive again. We are also hoping to bring the Scottish wildcat back to this landscape for the long term.

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