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22 Aug 2018

Modern-day battle with trees at Culloden

Culloden Moor is world famous
The team at Culloden are tackling the spread of trees at Culloden Moor.

There’s a modern-day battle happening at the National Trust for Scotland’s Culloden Battlefield: the struggle to control the relentless growth of self-seeded trees on the site. Team Culloden, led by the new Operations Manager Raoul Curtis-Machin, are trialling various methods of control on the battlefield. This week they are comparing ‘weed wiping’ against ‘brush cutting and chipping’.

Raoul says: ‘We have six people today cutting and clearing young birch and willow trees on the path towards the north of the site. The work is going on in the area of the Clan Donald stone. We’ll compare the results from this trial over the next few weeks, and this will help us update our management strategy for the site.’

The team at Culloden are cutting back vegetation to keep the moorland in good condition
The team at Culloden are cutting back vegetation to keep the moorland in good condition
“We‘ll have to use a mixture of methods to manage this in the future. The work we’re doing right now will help us to find the right combination to ensure this world-famous site is protected and looked after for future generations.”
Raoul Curtis-Machin, Operations Manager for Culloden and Hugh Miller's Birthplace Cottage & Museum

Raoul continues: ‘People might not realise that the heather moorland they associate with Culloden actually needs constant management and care. If we leave nature to take its course, trees will take over and obscure the battlefield.’

The Trust will trial a variety of methods including mowing the long meadow grass, manual brush cutting and clearing of the trees, as well as grazing animals such as goats, currently to the west of the site. The team will try these out on different parts of the battlefield to see which is the most effective for the short, medium and long term.

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