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.

(If you are a resident of the USA, click here to donate via National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA)

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.

A view looking across the expanse of Culloden Moor, with a pretty much uninterrupted view of grass all the way to the horizon. There is a line of red flags running across the field.

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 sustainably managing this through planned conservation grazing and manual, non-chemical clearance.

Alongside our hard-working human estate team, we also have a hard-working team of conservation grazers, made up of a mixed fold of Highland and Shetland cattle, two Highland ponies and a herd of British primitive goats. We trialled conservation grazing in 2019 and the results from the past 3 years have been so effective that we are looking to expand our grazing areas so we can tackle more of the tree and shrub regeneration. The cattle and goats work in great harmony, hitting different levels of growth. Our Highland ponies Rosie and Glen help with the grazing and took part in the inaugural Blueprint tour at the 2022 Anniversary, where the team discussed with our visitors the importance of cavalry at the battle of Culloden.

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 two red-listed bird species: skylarks (who both live and breed on the battlefield) and lapwings (who we spotted nesting in spring of 2022). We also have other species like the 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 when the visitor centre was closed, our education work did not stop. We 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. In 2022 we have welcomed the schools back to the site; it has been fantastic to be able to offer our programmes again.

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