CEO Christoph Warrack’s thoughts on a week in Carrifran, Scotland

Two founders of the Borders Forest Trust (in red), a ranger, two sheepdogs, and a visiting group from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust stood for this picture at the head of the Carrifran Wildwood, a 780 hectare landscape restoration project begun in the minds of a few friends round a table in 1993, long before the words crowdfunding or rewilding had been thought of.


Enlarge this picture on the biggest screen you have, and you’ll get a better idea of the scale of the nature recovery the BFT have overseen since then. The glen is thick with swathes of aspen, birch, oak, and willow – including the beautiful montane goat willow – and the birdsong of warblers, finches, thrushes and curlews is deafening. We even saw a golden eagle being buzzed by a merlin.


On the Ordnance Survey map this great Scottish Borders valley is now green, where its neighbours are brown. My team will bring rich learnings and inspiration from this project to our partner community woodland projects at Woodland Savers. For anyone who’s read “The Man Who Planted Trees” and wondered if only life were like that…. well, thanks to pioneers like these and their replenished communities of land, it is and can be.