7 February 2012

Guidance Aims To Help Save Scotland’s Designed Landscapes

Environment & Climate Change Minister, Stewart Stevenson, today visited Dunkeld’s storm damaged Cathedral Grove to see how recently published guidance from Forestry Commission Scotland can help restore this designed landscape.

Sited on the Hilton Dunkeld House Estate, the 2 acre Cathedral Grove – which included many veteran trees – was badly hit during the storms of 8th-9th December. As well as losing several mature and veteran trees, the grove was further damaged by falling tree tops that had been snapped off in the wind.

Mr Stevenson said:

“Changing demands on landscape, increasing threat from pests and diseases and, of course, the impact of climate change and extreme weather events will all impact upon Scotland’s historic and much loved designed landscapes.

“The damage here, at one of Perthshire’s best known heritage landscape sites, is very sad to see. This is an important tourist site but the Grove is also an important part of Scotland’s involvement in the world-wide iCONic project and to the developing National Tree Collections of Scotland.

“With many standing trees no longer worth keeping and some of the damaged trees presenting significant safety concerns, re-planting a new generation of trees and rescuing the grove will be a formidable task.

“I am sure that the Commission’s recently published guidance will be a valuable source of advice and assistance over the coming months as work that will eventually return the grove to its former glory progresses.”

As well as helping with the planning of restoration, replanting and conservation management projects, the guidance also sets out to:
  • Aid understanding of what comprises an historic designed landscape
  • Outline the components of designed landscapes, in particular their tree features, their design principles and common management issues.
  • Offer a handy one-page guide to SRDP grant support
  • Provide background information and links to further sources of information
The guidance will be of use to anyone responsible for managing these sites. For more information visit

Nicholas Shepherd,
Landscape & Culture Advisor with Forestry Commission Scotland, said:

“Designed landscapes are a significant asset for Scotland and it is often the trees - the result of careful species selection and deliberate planting over many centuries and at different scales - that shape and give the landscape its special qualities. They have artistic, historical and horticultural value, architectural, scenic, archaeological, recreational, educational and now also a climatic value!

“It’s vitally important that we do what we can to conserve the nature of these sites, while also allowing them to adapt and change to meet the set of modern challenges.”

Mike Metcalfe, general manager at Hilton Dunkeld House, said:

“The estate of Hilton Dunkeld House plays host to many wonderful examples of remarkable trees including the famous Dunkeld Pedestal Larch, the Parent Larch and the newly introduced Giant Redwoods.

“The recent storms proved to make quite a dent on our existing landscape and we are working with Forestry Commission Scotland to restore and replant in order to preserve for future generations.”

Stewart Stevenson
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