Balmacara Estate & Lochalsh Woodland Garden
Kyle of Lochalsh
Covering 2,550 hectares (6,330 acres) on the Lochalsh peninsula, this traditional Highland crofting estate is a diverse mix of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes.
It encompasses croft and farm land, woodland, moorland, villages, coastline, saltmarsh, lochs and offshore islands, and offers stunning views across the water to the mountains of Skye and Applecross.
The estate is also packed with fascinating archaeological and historic features, including two Scheduled Ancient Monuments – the open-air church at Plockton village and the crannog on Loch Achaidh na h-Inich. Plockton, a planned village dating from 1801, is a designated Conservation Area and well worth a visit, as is Balmacara Square, where you can see the estate’s original 18th-century steadings, millhouse and ice house.
Drumbuie and Duirinish are outstanding examples of traditional crofting townships. Even the estate’s woodland is a valuable part of Scotland’s natural heritage – a section of the Coille Mhór oak/birch wood is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area for Conservation. The Lochalsh Woodland Walk is an attractively designed landscape open to the public throughout the year.
The mosaic of arable in-bye fields around small crofting settlements, with outlying moorland common grazing reflects a historically important land use of the West Highlands which remains relevant to local communities today.
The relatively low intensity grazing of the moorland has resulted in extensive semi-natural woodland throughout the estate, with the Coille Mhór being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area for Conservation (SAC). The estate also has over 23km of footpaths including woodland walks at the policies associated with Lochalsh House.
Lochalsh House is not open to the public. The historic village of Plockton, planned in 1801 by the estate owner at the time, Sir Hugh Innes, remains a popular tourist destination and is designated an Outstanding Conservation Area.
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