Wildlife of Glen Loy

Glen Loy can be thought of as a Highlands landscape in miniature. The River Loy tumbles through a wooded corridor of oak, birch, alder and hazel to join the River Lochy, and is used by salmon for spawning. There is a forest walk through the Glen Loy Oakwoods, which are managed by the Forestry Commission. Specialities of these woods include Pine Marten, Crossbill and a number of scarce butterfly species, notably Chequered Skipper.

Further up the glen there is a sizeable area of native Caledonian pinewood with some magnificent specimen trees, showing a progressive transition from alder and hazel through oak and birch to Scots Pine, with Juniper scrub just above the treeline. At the head of the glen the public road ends and a track continues through open moorland habitat, with characteristic upland acid grassland, dwarf shrub heath and peat bog. Mountains rise on either side of the glen to a height of around 2500 feet; high enough to support upland waders, Ptarmigan, a variety of birds of prey, including Golden Eagle, and some alpine flora. The glen also contains active commercial forestry and a Red Deer herd.

Between Glenloy Lodge and the River Lochy lies the Caledonian Canal, just a short walk away. Besides being a magnificent engineering feat in its own right, the canal is an important wildlife corridor. The banks are swathed in flowers during the late spring and summer, including some unexpected rarities such as Greater Butterfly Orchid whilst there is a semi-continuous hedge of trees and scrub beyond the towpath. The lower lying farmland provides opportunities for some unexpected residents such as Brown Hare, Barn Owl and Yellowhammer. The more adventurous can gain access to the canal towpath from Glen Loy by means of a tunnel under the canal; but please do bring your wellies!

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