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Little Assynt Tree Nursery

The list of tree prices for 2016-17 can be found here.

The Little Assynt tree nursery, situated just outside Lochinver, was one of the first Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape projects to get underway. Officially opened in October 2012, the tree nursery has been run by local manager Nick Clooney for the last two years.

Its aim is simple, to produce trees and shrubs from native stock, to be used in native woodland schemes on both CALL partner ground and elsewhere in the North-West Highlands.  The trees are available to feed in to CALL’s tree planting projects but also for any other local planting schemes, large or small, even if you just want a tree for your garden.  Grown from seed collected in local woodlands, our trees are ideally suited to the climate and soil conditions of this area and will help in improving local woodlands and creating new woodland.

Species under cultivation include oak, birch, rowan, hazel, scots pine, juniper and dwarf birch, holly and wych elm.  Some of these are scarce in the area and it is important to preserve the genetic stock. Currently the nursery produces around 25,000 trees per year, but aspires to increase this output to around 100,000 over the next few years.

July 2014 VH (1)

History

A lack of reliable sources of trees with a local provenance led CALL to develop a local tree nursery.  Culag Community Woodland Trust, a CALL partner, made available an area of land at Little Assynt Field, five miles east of Lochinver.

Planning permission was granted in 2012 and funding was confirmed to allow a Tree Nursery Manager to be appointed. Nick Clooney from Achiltibuie has had the complex task of establishing the nursery from scratch (in a field with a great view but no mains water or power) with the goal of making it financially self-sustaining in three years. No mean feat!

A local contractor levelled the site, installed drainage and prepared it for the tunnels and shed to go up.  Two large polytunnels have been erected and a timber-clad shed has been constructed.  The shed serves as a store, office and tea-room for Nick and volunteers, who come and help out at the nursery, or with seed collection in the surrounding area.  The first seeds were sown in 2013, some trees being grown in soil-beds and some in root-trainer cells.  Outdoor beds have since been established for sowing and lining-out seedlings to grow on to saleable size.

polytunnel frames installed on site

This local nursery is now well underway, the first rowans were offered for sale at the Assynt Games in Lochinver in 2013, with CALL staff selling trees at other highland games events, fairs and shows.  The eventual goal of the nursery is for it to become a viable business and to sustain quality rural jobs.  An added benefit is as a focus for a variety of community activities, involving young and old.  We also have a regular group of volunteers and are always happy to welcome new volunteers.

Visitors to the nursery are always welcome but do call ahead to make sure someone is there.

You can now visit us on Facebook fb-arta

For more details and tree sales contact Manager Nick Clooney on 01571 872010 or email  nclooney@coigach-assynt.org

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