WREN - Wester Ross Environment Network

WREN Projects

The group is involved in a number of projects to enhance and promote biodiversity.

Current Projects

  • Rhododendron × superponticum, and how to eradicate it

What is it?  Why is it a problem?

Rhododendron × superponticum, also known as ‘invasive rhododendron’, is a non-native hybrid that threatens natural habitats in Wester Ross.  

It thrives on Britain’s west coast, where the damp climate allows its seeds to germinate and the plant to reproduce readily.  This means it can spread rapidly, particularly across heather moorland and woodlands.  Once it has established, it grows quickly and its evergreen leaves shade out all surrounding vegetation, reducing native wild flowers, tree seedlings and the wildlife that depend on them.

Read more at /userfiles/file/duncan/Rhododendron-file-for-WREN-website.doc



Recent  Projects

Library folder shown here
Past Projects

Wester Ross Biodiversity Posters (WREN)
A series of 13 laminated posters (size A2) produced by local enthusiasts covering a range of habitats and species found in Wester Ross (including: Mountains and moorlands, fresh water habitats, seashore, butterflies, mammals, dragonflies, under the sea, lower plants, soils, crafting). These are available to schools, libraries and groups who would like to display them. Please email Nicola Tallach for more information and bookings. Alternatively, the download the posters at A3 size.

Biodiversity Toolkit
Arange of equipment can be borrowed on a ‘library basis’ to allow groups and individuals to get involved in recording the wildlife in Wester Ross. Equipment available includes: bat detectors, moth traps, field studies keys to all habitats and species found in the area, books on moths and fungi. Please email Nicola Tallach for for more information and bookings.

Strathcarron Countryside Day (Strathcarron Learning Centre)
A ‘hands on’ family day for locals and visitors to learn about crafting, rural skills, crafts and biodiversity in the area.

Life in the Lochans (Wester Ross Fisheries Trust)
A project with Gairloch & Laide Primary Schools learning ‘hands on’ about the local freshwater environment and it’s importance to us.

‘Small Grants’ Project
Between 2005-2007 WREN was able to provide funding towards 15 projects in Wester Ross ranging from £98 to £20,000; the smaller ones we were able to fund 100%.

Projects included:

  • Wildlife garden, pond and water vole habitat enhancement at Poolewe Primary School.
  • Wildlife notice board (Gairloch wildlife group) – gives a monthly update on what has been seen in the area.
  • Shieldaig Calendar – a special binder was purchased to help the community produce a calendar to highlight local biodiversity and landscape through 12 photographs chosen in a local competition. The calendar was sold to visitors to raise funds for local projects
  • Strathburn restoration (Gairloch Angling Club) – clearing rubble from a burn to allow trout to run again – work was done by volunteers in the end so no need for a digger or WREN money but the application acted  as a catalyst to get the volunteers involved
  • ‘Tarry a while’ project (Strathburn House Retirement Home) – contribution towards wildlife garden, flower beds, decking and turf topped dyke as well as bird feeders and bird-cam linking into residents TV lounge.
  • Fisherman’s tales – the local radio station will train an ex-fisherman to interview other west coast ex-fishermen about the catches of the old days and the wildlife they saw. The interviews will be made into programmes for broadcast.
  • ROV Dive Days (Scoraig Community Association) - made the first ever British film recording underwater footage of Arctic charr courting in their natural habitat.
  • Loch Maree Fish Inventory (Wester Ross Fisheries Trust)
  • River Carron Biodiversity Audit (Seafield Centre)
  • Woodland Survey (Laide & Aultbea Community Woodland Group)
  • Isle Martin 'Know Your Own Patch' (Isle Martin Trust & Ullapool High School)
  • Strathcarron Photography Collection (Strathcarron Learning Centre)
  • Lochcarron 'Know Your Own Patch' (Lochcarron Primary School)
  • Applecross Wildflower Walks & Common Plants Leaflet (Applecross Community)
  • Croft Walk (Aroma Perfumes)
  • Marine environment Workshops (Gairloch Marine Centre) – ID keys produced and local school groups taken rock pooling and on boat trips by local marine tour operator.
  • Ullapool River Path (Lochbroom Community Council) – funding put towards wildlife signage along new path
  • Strathgarve School garden
  • Mihol Road Croft Pond
  • Inverasdale Croft pond


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WREN would like to thank the following organisations for their support:
Scottish Natural Heritage
The European Agriculture fund for Rural Development. Europe investing in rural areas
The Highland Council
The Scottish Government

Tom Forrest (Chairman) chair@wr-en.co.uk

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