Ben Lawers teacher information

​Ben Lawers is the highest mountain in the central Highlands at 1,214m.

It is also a National Nature Reserve (NNR) that includes nine mountains in the Lawers and Tarmachan ranges and is one of the most important nature conservation sites in Britain.

The underlying geology means that there is a great diversity of plants even on the lower slopes, especially within the areas fenced to exclude grazing sheep and deer. Here, regenerating habitats are now thriving ecosystems. The wider reserve is also home to exciting wildlife with several species, such as the ptarmigan, specially adapted to the extreme mountain conditions. Many other creatures can be seen on the lower slopes - from large mammals, like the red deer, to tiny insects. The site is also rich in archaeological remains which tell the story of human habitation from the past.

For school visits, we use the managed environment of the nature reserve, which is set on the lower slopes of Ben Lawers and is 200 metres from the NNR car park. 

For older pupils studying advanced science subjects, the nutrient-rich rocks outcropping at high altitude provide unique habitats for plants and the reserve has the most extensive populations of arctic-alpine plants in Britain.

The school programme offers many opportunities for cross-curricular work and engaging with the Curriculum for Excellence.

Possible topics

  • Mountain habitats, including woodland, burns, bogs and moorland
  • Wildlife
  • Conservation 
  • Archaeology

Resources for schools

  • Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve leaflet - available from the Ben Lawers NNR office
  • Ben Lawers Nature Trail illustrated guidebook - can be bought on site or from the Ben Lawers NNR office
  • Ben Lawers flora - a more detailed book about plants within the NNR, available on request
  • Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve information sheets relating to the management of the NNR - available on request

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please contact the Ben Lawers NNR office to discuss your visit; we can tailor interpretive activities to meet your requirements.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Class teachers are encouraged to make a preparatory visit to the site.
  • Certain times of the year are best for some topics eg burn dipping and mountain plants - so please bear this in mind when planning your visit.
  • Maximum class size: we recommend a maximum ratio of 10 pupils to 1 adult. For logistical purposes, large classes may be split into groups.
  • Parking: access to the NNR car park is via a single-track hill road, which is unsuitable for full-size coaches.
  • Access: some of the lower paths are accessible to wheelchair users with assistance. Please contact us for further information. 
  • Toilets: there are no toilets on site, so please make provision to stop en route.
  • Clothing: Ben Lawers is a mountainous property. The weather higher up the slopes can be quite different (and more extreme) than at lower altitudes. Please ensure that your pupils have adequate clothing. They should have both warm and waterproof clothing and footwear. For sunny days, your pupils should have protection against the sun – for instance, a long-sleeved jacket, a sunhat or cap.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers are expected to prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.

Charges

  • There is no charge for schools with Trust educational membership.
  • Non-members are welcome but there is an activity charge per pupil - charges vary depending on the activity.

During your class visit

  • On arrival: your class will be met by the ranger in the NNR car park.
  • Trust staff will lead the school programme.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Pupils do not need to bring any materials for the school programme.
  • Pupils/teachers may take photos on the site.
  • There are no buildings on site but staff carry shelters for emergency use.
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