Friday 27 January 2017

Wild Land Area Descriptions from Scottish Natural Heritage

Suilven in Wild Land Area 32 Inverpolly and Glencanisp. 'An awe-inspiring contrast of isolated steep rocky mountains that tower above open expanses of cnocan, peatland and water bodies, with a strong sense of naturalness.'

Scottish Natural Heritage has just published excellent descriptions of the 42 Wild Land Areas in Scotland. Each detailed description has a map and describes the geographical location and boundaries of the area plus its key attributes and qualities. The landscape, geology, ecology, archaeology and human activity are all included in the descriptions.

As well as a guide to the attractions and nature of the wild land areas, which should be useful to visitors, the descriptions also show why these landscapes should be protected. something that involves both local people and national government. Stuart Brooks, CEO of the John Muir Trust, said 'we believe these in-depth descriptions – which also clarify the distinction between wild land  and other beautiful landscapes where people live and work – can help persuade adjacent local communities of the benefits of protecting and enhancing Wild Land Areas.'
Cir Mhor in Wild Land Area 3 North Arran. 'Strong wild land attributes, especially within the remote interior.'

SNH has also published technical guidance for planners and developers, which will be key for conservation of the wild areas. Stuart Brooks said 'A core principle is that any assessment should consider the impact on Wild Land Areas, even if the physical footprint of the development is outside or on the edge of wild land. We are pleased to see that SNH’s guidance attempts to deal with this important issue.'

Coire Ardair in Wild Land Area 19 Braeroy, Glenshirra and Creag Meagaidh. 'A strong sense of naturalness across much of the interior, partly due to the prominence of geological features such as corries and glacier deposition, but also dynamic features such as land slips, deep cut gorges and watercourses'.

To mean anything for the future it is vital that these areas are conserved and that restoration is undertaken for, beautiful and spectacular as they are, many of them contain large areas of degraded and ecologically poor land due to past and current human activities. These descriptions should help with this and are to be welcomed. It's now up to the Scottish Government to take the lead in ensuring that our wonderful wild lands remain so.

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