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Traquair Forest Project

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(c) Ronald Surgenor.jpg

This is a vast, validated project comprising 650,000 trees on 246 hectares of rolling hillsides.  Remarkably, this one project achieves several UN Sustainable Development Goals.  In terms of the landscape context.  The planting site is adjacent to vast swathe of forest managed by Scottish Land and Forestry that is home to red squirrels and pine martens.

The most important aspect of the project is a remarkably diverse planting scheme. Broadly speaking, the project is divided into riparian areas of native broadleaves at low elevation, to enhance water quality, and vast hillside areas of conifers. 

A diverse planting of a broadleaf riparian woodland enhances water quality in the River Tweed.  Rare species of the River Tweed Special Area of Conservation: dipper, osprey, river otter, Eurasian beaver, water vole and kingfisher.


The native broadleaf area includes: alder, willow, grey willow, birch, aspen, hazel, juniper, rowan, bird cherry and birch.  The planting scheme is sympathetic to rare Brown argus butterflies living along the burn.  It will maintain the ecosystem framework of the forest for the long-term, support wildlife to thrive, establish a visually attractive forest and provide extensive recreational opportunities (horse-riding, mountain biking, rambling, dog walking and more).

The woodland contains 130ha of Scots pine/Scots pine mixed with birch and aspen woodlands inspired by Caledonian Forest remnants designed for carbon storage and habitat creation.  The rapidly-sequestering, coniferous zone includes: Scots pine, Norway spruce, Douglas fir and Sitka spruce.  The coniferous areas of the planting will benefit rare species such as red squirrels, pine martens, Scottish crossbills, parrot crossbills, golden eagles and ospreys.  The Scots pine and Norway spruce mixes will be managed as continuous cover forestry.

The Caledonian Forest that once covered much of Scotland, and that was part of the circumpolar Boreal forest, had been a Scots pine dominant forest.  It is right, therefore, to ensure substantial coniferous planting on site.

The Traquair Project at Damhead is located on one of the largest estates in the Scottish Borders, The Traquair Estate.  The Traquair Estate is open to the public year-round.  It is located only 45 minutes from Edinburgh by car.  Traquair House is Scotland’s oldest continually inhabited house. It dates to 1107, and has been home to the Stuart Clan since 1491.  It has been visited by 27 Scottish Kings and Queens. 

The Traquair Estate Charitable Trust is passionate about public access.  The house and gardens are open year-round with various large, public events in the diary.  The project site itself has been designed with public access in mind.  Rambler trails, bridal paths and mountain bike access have been included in the project design; these paths link up to Innerleithen and the Tweed Valley Forest Park.  Fishing and canoeing are available on the River Tweed itself which flows through the estate.

The mission of the Traquair House Charitable Trust is to support the upkeep of the environs of the estate and to achieve educational outputs for the environment, culture and heritage; and to promote social welfare on the estate.  Net income from the offsetting project will be invested into that mission.  In particular, the Trust is raising funds to create an Edible Forest Garden as a community asset: as an exemplar of an organic, sustainable garden.  In addition to planting areas, the garden will include beehives, owl boxes and hedgehog hotels.

At a Glance: Traquair Forest Project


Innerleithen, Scottish Borders


Offsetting Capacity

  • 66,066 TCO2e

  • Phase 1: 35,002 TCO2e each

  • Phase 2: 30,917 TCO2e each



  • 246 Hectares

  • 650,000 trees


Forestry Features

  • One of the most diverse planting schemes in the UK

  • Zone 1: Caledonian forest with Scots pine, birch and aspen

  • Zone 2: Riparian, diverse broadleaf scheme

  • Zone 3: Mixed conifers on the high ground

  • Zone 4: Areas of low-density planting and open ground


Tree Species

  • Broadleafs: alder, willow, grey willow, birch, aspen, hazel, juniper, rowan, bird cherry and birch.

  • Conifers: Scots pine, Norway spruce, Douglas fir and sitka spruce

Landscape Features

  • Complements two large Sites of Special Scientific Interest

  • Benefits the Tweed River Special Area of Conservation

  • Expands adjacent forest cover; Scottish Land and Forestry

  • Linked to the Tweed Valley Forest Park

Key Species to Benefit

  • Red squirrels, pine martens and crossbills

  • Golden eagles, osprey and hen harriers

  • Black grouse, red grouse and curlews

  • Otters, Eurasian beavers, water voles and dippers

  • Aquatic species such as salmon, trout and mussels

  • Brown Argus butterfly

Sustainable Development Goals

  • Climate Action

  • Life on Land

  • Life Below Water

  • Clean Water and Sanitation

  • Partnerships for the Goals​

  • Good Health and Wellbeing

  • Zero Hunger

Recognised Offsetting Framework

Woodland Carbon Code

Project Status



Recognised Offset Standards

Pending Issuance Units becoming Woodland Carbon Units

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