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TITLE
Changing land use in Strath Suardal, Skye
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_ANDREWCURRIE_17
PLACENAME
Strath Suardal
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Strath
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Andrew Currie
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1829
KEYWORDS
forests
woods
audio

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In this audio extract, Skye naturalist, Andrew Currie, talks to Bill Sinclair about the changes in land use in and around Strath Suardal, southwest of Broadford.

What we're looking at now is a change in land use, because we still have the crofting here, but you drew my attention to the Forestry Commission areas over there. Now, in Scotland, we're seeing a tremendous amount of new planting of trees and I think that's a particularly good example across there; trees about fifteen or twenty years old, something of that sort. I like that area because it brings a new use to the land, on slopes which really are not very, very useful so far as the grazing of sheep is concerned, but also, this particular forest, it doesn't have straight lines, and, you know, right angles; it's contoured to the shape of the hillside and I think it makes it look a very, very interesting bit of forest. Also, there's different ages of trees; there are older trees and more recently planted areas and there's bits of natural vegetation about, which makes it look a very interesting forestry area.

Interviewer: Now, we've got other trees over to our left here which are - certainly haven't been planted by the Forestry Commission.

Well these trees there, again on the limestone, are part of the natural vegetation of the area. You see, we often say that in the Highlands they were once very, very densely wooded and over the centuries man has used the timber for the building of houses, for burning fires, for making limestone, or whatever, and now we have just the remnants of what was once a very extensive Highland forest but this is a very good example because it's quite an extended area of woodland. You see the lower slopes there?

Interviewer: Yes.

Down by the road, that's hazel scrub and as you go up onto the more acid slopes you get into birch woodland and there are nice open glades within that wood so that's a very interesting woodland from the point of view of wildlife and natural history.

Interviewer: Does that clearing in the wood there, could that have been a croft over there, perhaps, in the past?

There are areas within these woodlands which have been farmed and crofted in the past.

Interviewer: Yes.

Yes, undoubtedly. And I think this is the important thing to realise. We're not looking at a completely natural woodland; we're looking at a woodland which has been used by mankind over many, many centuries and which has adapted itself to human use, and indeed it is still being used. There you can see the Land Rover and a moment or two ago I saw the shepherd with his dogs away out to the hill. This land is still being used by people and it - the current land use, farming and crofting, blends very well into the natural woodland which is a survival of the ancient Scottish woodland cover

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Changing land use in Strath Suardal, Skye

INVERNESS: Strath

1980s; 1990s

forests; woods; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Andrew Currie, Skye Naturalist

In this audio extract, Skye naturalist, Andrew Currie, talks to Bill Sinclair about the changes in land use in and around Strath Suardal, southwest of Broadford.<br /> <br /> What we're looking at now is a change in land use, because we still have the crofting here, but you drew my attention to the Forestry Commission areas over there. Now, in Scotland, we're seeing a tremendous amount of new planting of trees and I think that's a particularly good example across there; trees about fifteen or twenty years old, something of that sort. I like that area because it brings a new use to the land, on slopes which really are not very, very useful so far as the grazing of sheep is concerned, but also, this particular forest, it doesn't have straight lines, and, you know, right angles; it's contoured to the shape of the hillside and I think it makes it look a very, very interesting bit of forest. Also, there's different ages of trees; there are older trees and more recently planted areas and there's bits of natural vegetation about, which makes it look a very interesting forestry area.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Now, we've got other trees over to our left here which are - certainly haven't been planted by the Forestry Commission. <br /> <br /> Well these trees there, again on the limestone, are part of the natural vegetation of the area. You see, we often say that in the Highlands they were once very, very densely wooded and over the centuries man has used the timber for the building of houses, for burning fires, for making limestone, or whatever, and now we have just the remnants of what was once a very extensive Highland forest but this is a very good example because it's quite an extended area of woodland. You see the lower slopes there?<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.<br /> <br /> Down by the road, that's hazel scrub and as you go up onto the more acid slopes you get into birch woodland and there are nice open glades within that wood so that's a very interesting woodland from the point of view of wildlife and natural history.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Does that clearing in the wood there, could that have been a croft over there, perhaps, in the past?<br /> <br /> There are areas within these woodlands which have been farmed and crofted in the past.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Yes.<br /> <br /> Yes, undoubtedly. And I think this is the important thing to realise. We're not looking at a completely natural woodland; we're looking at a woodland which has been used by mankind over many, many centuries and which has adapted itself to human use, and indeed it is still being used. There you can see the Land Rover and a moment or two ago I saw the shepherd with his dogs away out to the hill. This land is still being used by people and it - the current land use, farming and crofting, blends very well into the natural woodland which is a survival of the ancient Scottish woodland cover