Forrest Estate was purchased in 1952 by P.H. Matthieson & Co. on behalf of Fred. Olsen Ltd. The concept was to create a long-term commercial forest while enhancing rural employment.
The Estate has always maintained a policy, where possible, of providing the local economy with secure, long term employment and accommodation, currently supporting eleven full time jobs along with numerous opportunities for casual labour and contractors. Most employees are housed in Estate properties and the remaining houses are let out on Short Assured Tenancies.
Over the years there has been significant investment with diversification into hydro-electric power, tourism, field sports and importantly the development of Natural Power, expert consultants to the international renewable energy industry. ‘The Green House’, Natural Power’s centre of excellence was constructed in 2000.
The policy on Forrest Estate has always been to manage the forest on a primarily commercial basis with good silvicultural practice in mind. Around 2700 hectares of commercial coniferous forest was established on Forrest Estate from 1953 through to 1990. From 2001 to 2006 the Stranfasket farmland was also planted. The crop has been thinned up to three times, with the total sustainable production from clearfelling and thinning in excess of 20,000 tonnes per annum.
Forrest Estate diversified into hydro-electric power production in the early 1980’s by harnessing outfall from the hill lochs. The four generating stations produce power for export to the local grid network operated by Scottish Power, via the Forrest Estate private high voltage network.
A network of over 65km of forest roads has been developed primarily for access to undertake the management of the forest and hydro schemes. These roads are available free to the public for recreational purposes whether it be walking or mountain biking.
There are three marked trails to the Rhinns of Kells and the highest point on the Estate, the Corserine at 814 metres. Hillwalkers can park for free in the car park provided by the Estate and enjoy the challenge of a summit attempt or the entire 5 km ridge including Millfire (716m), Milldown and Meikle Millyea (746m). Stiles, signage and footbridges have all been erected to facilitate and encourage public access.
Forrest Estate Experiences is the first and only purpose built country sports activity centre in the U.K. specialising in providing access and education for a full range of country sports including clay pigeon shooting, trout fishing, game shooting and deer stalking, located on this breath-taking 11,000 acre private estate. As possibly one of the best shooting grounds in Scotland it offers a selection of sporting ‘introductions’ and sporting breaks, and provides professional instruction for individuals and groups wishing to ‘have-a-go’ at clay pigeon shooting, as well as regular events and packages for experienced guns looking to improve their skills.
“This is a first class, unique and professional organisation providing access and education to country sports for all abilities”
Ian Clark, Director – Scottish Association for Country Sports