We are now in the second planting season of a 3 year project in the Upper Cree which aims to produce a riparian corridor along the length of the River Cree, north from Dalnaw, right up to Loch Moan. This corridor will also extend up 3 of the main tributary burns of the Cree, the Clauchrie, Fardin and Cairnfore burns, to their sources in the hills. Most of this area was formerly extensively afforested and still contains conifer plantations, but large areas of the riparian zone have been clear-felled. The wildlife corridor will consist of a mosaic of habitats including mixed native broad-leaved woodland. One hundred and twenty hectares within the site are being planted with local provenance trees. This will not only create a valuable riparian corridor, but will also contribute to the health of the watercourse, providing shade and cover and also detritus in the form of rotting leaves. This in turn will provide food for invertebrates which will provide food for other aquatic life such as salmonids. Conifer regeneration is also being removed from the riversides and it is hoped that the overall reduction in conifers which had led to acidification of the watercouse, coupled with appropriate riparian habitat management, will improve conditions for the brown trout and salmon found in these waters.
The Upper Cree project could not have been possible without funding from the Tubney Charitable Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission Scotland with whom CVCWT have a 25 year management agreement on the land.