Restoring Glenlude

Third Sector • Scottish Borders

Working with volunteers and the local community, the former sheep farm and conifer plantation of Glenlude is being turned into a variety of native habitats.

  • Gabriella and Tyne.
  • Restoring Glenlude.
  • Restoring Glenlude.

Our story

About Glenlude:
Glenlude is a former sheep farm and conifer plantation covering 149 hectares (the same as 208 football pitches!) on the edge of the Southern Uplands. Over the next 20 years we will be working with volunteers to turn this land into a mosaic of native habitats. The land was gifted to the Trust in 2003 by Sheila Bell who wanted to rewild this small corner of the Scottish Borders. Despite its small size and the impacts of agriculture and forestry, it has a wide range of habitats. These range from open grassland, a watershed, and a strip of native woodland.

We are replacing the continuous cover forestry with native broadleaf trees and introducing some native woodland on the open grassland. The trees we plant are grown from seeds collected locally and grown in our tree nursery. Volunteers include schools and groups undertaking their John Muir Award, John Muir Trust members and Edinburgh-based youth engagement charity The Green Team.

Phoenix Futures - a UK-wide drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity - now manages a part of Glenlude known as the Phoenix Forest, Scotland. Jamie's Wood - a project in memory of Jamie Gardiner (1994-2017) - is fundraising to plant and nurture 1,500 trees on the northern side of the property.

Wildlife includes roe and sika deer, invertebrates, red squirrel, pine marten, otter, adder and palmate newts; bird species such as buzzard, barn owl, black grouse and crossbills migrating through.

About John Muir:
The Trust takes our name from John Muir, the Scots-born founder of the modern conservation movement. Muir was passionate about the protection of wild places, which he explored, wrote and campaigned about. Like him, we understand the importance of the wild for the wellbeing of people and wildlife alike. We own and care for wild places around the UK, to protect it, repair past ecological damage and conserve it for future generations.

Our aims are:
To protect wild places - 605,00 acres of wild land are cared for by the John Muir Trust, thanks to the support of Members and donors.

To repair and rewild - 120 kilometres of coastal and mountain paths are maintained through our Wild Ways programme each year. We also work towards landscape-scale restoration of natural processes, the expansion of native woodlands and the nurturing of rare mountain plants.

To support natural climate solutions - 4,000 trees were planted at Schiehallion in 2019, helping to grow the Heart of Scotland Forest. Planting trees is an effective way of combating climate change as trees absorb the dangerous carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

To promote wildness for all - 387,500 people have achieved their John Muir Award since its launch in 1997 and the trust have won or been commended in The Great Outdoors Award Campaigner of the year 6 times.

To work in and with communities - 5,200 acres were brought into community ownership via the Trust-supported Langholm Buyout in 2020.

Our advice

Getting volunteers involved is a great way of connecting to the local community and engaging those who have limited access to wild places. Glenlude enables learning about nature and enjoying the benefits that rewilding can offer, such as fresh air, exercise, and a better state of mind. Volunteers have built all the infrastructure at Glenlude. This includes the tree nursery with poly tunnel, a hub for volunteers, the composting toilet, firewood store and a wild camping area.

We also hope to engage the wider community using our 'donate a tree' option on the website. This is a symbolic gift that supports our rewilding work without having to get people outside. This is a great way or raising money for projects and gets everybody involved.

Our metrics

Number of people presented with the John Muir Award.
Trees planted.
Acres brought into community stewardship.
Number of people engaged in our programmes.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...


Scottish Borders

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation




Third Sector, 10 to 49 people

Shared by

Nikki Gordon

Updated Feb, 2024

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