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Culloden’s Fighting Fund

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Help us protect the battlefield.

Marking the spot of the last major battle on British soil, the wild moor at Culloden is the resting place of 1,500 Jacobite and 50 government soldiers who fought and died here in 1746. Today, you can walk along the battle lines and see the graves of the soldiers beside the memorial cairn in the centre of the battlefield.

The battlefield is a powerfully emotive place, and it’s rare for a landscape of this age to be so relatively intact. The National Trust for Scotland has been acquiring and caring for parts of the battlefield since 1937. But the field of battle and the views that surround it are increasingly under threat from development, and we must work harder each day to protect its sense of place.

Action is needed now.

Please, if you can, donate today.

The threat of development

The site cared for by the National Trust for Scotland covers only a third of the actual battleground. It sits within a cultural landscape which is owned by many different people and private organisations. It’s the field of battle itself and the views that surround the site that give it a sense of place.

Over the past 10 years, Inverness has become one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, putting agricultural land in the Culloden area under increasing pressure from development. The integrity of the whole site is currently under threat from piecemeal decision-making, unclear guidance and a lack of focused resource. Without integrated planning, stronger support and a holistic response to the problem, it’s likely that the cultural landscape surrounding the battlefield will be lost.

Over the past few months, we’ve opposed multiple planning applications, including a proposal right beside the battlefield to convert Treetops equestrian centre into a leisure resort with 13 lodges, restaurant and shop. We welcomed the Highland Council’s decision to deny planning permission, resulting in the protection of the wider historic battlefield.

Action is needed now because the number of planning applications is likely to increase. A donation to Culloden’s Fighting Fund will help us work towards a collaborative approach to managing the battlefield and protecting the site for future generations.

Conserving the landscape

Keeping the landscape looking like it did at the time of the battle is a challenge – native tree growth keeps wanting to take over and turn the boggy Highland moor into a woodland. We’re committed to managing this in a sustainable way through conservation grazing and manual, non-chemical clearance.

Alongside our hard-working human estates team, we also have a hard-working team of conservation grazers, made up of two Highland cows, 12 Shetland cattle, two Highland ponies and a herd of British primitive goats. Our grazers keep the tree growth down by munching the scrub on the moor. Our Highland ponies Rosie and Glen are currently in training to do walking tours on the battlefield, helping us to tell visitors about the pivotal role of horses and cavalry in the battle. The goats act as a ‘hit squad’ – they’re effective at decimating tall scrub and we move them where the need is greatest!

Protecting the moor is not only essential from a historical viewpoint. The unique landscape of Culloden is also home to a rich variety of wildlife, including skylarks (who both live and breed on the battlefield) and garden tiger moth caterpillars – these have been in decline since the 1970s but have found a space at Culloden.

By preserving and protecting this amazing place in a sustainable way, we will encourage the natural flora and fauna to flourish. A gift today will help us preserve the nature of the moor and protect the wildlife that inhabits the battlefield.

Sharing history

The education programme at Culloden is highly regarded and hugely in demand. Before the pandemic, the education team would welcome over 5,000 children a year from across the Highlands to learn more about the Jacobite Risings and their final battle at Culloden.

Even though the visitor centre is currently closed, our education work has not stopped. Over the past year, we’ve taught schoolchildren across Scotland with sessions being delivered on Zoom and Teams. We’re now working on setting up our own Google Classroom, which will be a safe space for children to explore all our materials on Culloden.

Not only do we share the history of the battle, but we also look at other histories that have often been overlooked. We’re hoping to develop more resources on women’s roles during the battle, highlight the stories of black soldiers and their impact on the Highlands, and explore the links between the slave trade and the Jacobites.

Currently 40 teachers regularly use our resources and Culloden is starting to see interest from further afield, with requests coming from the Scottish Borders and Northern Ireland. A donation to Culloden’s Fighting Fund can help us continue this vital education programme and give us the opportunity to research further histories and develop tools to teach them in classrooms.

All donations go directly to Culloden who will use income where the need is greatest.

Culloden’s Fighting Fund

Donate today