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Beer giant BrewDog reveals plans for Lost Forest by Aviemore

By Gavin Musgrove

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Beer giant BrewDog has revealed bold plans for its Lost Forest by Aviemore, which will include the planting of millions of native trees and the creation of a hotel, campsite and distillery.

The Ellon-based brewer has said it intends to start work this summer on its vision for Kinrara Estate.

Chief executive and co-founder James Watt has said the BrewDog Lost Forest ‘will be bigger than 17 actual countries’ and the single biggest native woodland establishment and peatland restoration project ever in the UK.

Edinburgh-based forestry agents Scottish Woodlands have been appointed to lead the afforestation on the 3767-hectare estate.

Mr Watt told social media: “We purchased a huge chunk of land in the Highlands where we will embark on the single biggest native woodland establishment and peatland restoration project ever carried out in the UK.

“The scale is staggering, the BrewDog Lost Forest is bigger than 17 actual countries.

“Located just west of Aviemore, work will begin at the Lost Forest in August after we have completed our environmental surveys.

“We will be planting millions of native trees to create a bio-diverse broadleaf woodland and ecosystem. Overall, the Lost Forest is capable of pulling one million tonnes of carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere.

“The Lost Forest is also going to be home to a hotel built from sustainable cabins, a campsite, a distillery, hiking and biking trails as well as kayaking on our beautiful loch.

“We want the Lost Forest to enable people to reconnect with nature and by doing so become far more cognisant of the impact that we, as humans, are having on our planet.”

Kinrara Estate and the surrounding land will become home to BrewDog's Lost Forest.
Kinrara Estate and the surrounding land will become home to BrewDog's Lost Forest.

The Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group said it was good to see the estate’s new owners are concerned about the climate and nature emergency.

Chairman Dr Gus Jones commented: “BrewDog appears keen to manage the estate accordingly.

“It would be welcome if they now enable natural regeneration of native woodlands to flourish, through controlling grazing pressure; support biodiversity through sensitive management; and are careful to avoid inappropriate and excessive development.”

A Scottish Forestry spokesman confirmed they had held initial discussions with BrewDog’s forestry agents, Scottish Woodlands, over the plans for a large expansion of new native woodland on Kinrara Estate.

He said: “Their plans are at an early stage and therefore no applications for the project have been made to Scottish Forestry just now.

“As with any woodland expansion proposal of this size, the landowner will need to follow the Woodland Creation application guidance.

“Before developing detailed planting proposals, they would need to undertake extensive due diligence including discussing their outline plans with neighbours, communities and other interested stakeholders.

“They would also need to carry out surveys to inform the woodland design and carefully consider any environmental impacts.

“When an application is submitted to Scottish Forestry, we will carry out a public and stakeholder consultation as part of our wider assessment of the proposals.

“We look forward to working with BrewDog and Scottish Woodlands as their proposals develop.”

Martin Dickie and James Watt, founders of Brewdog.
Martin Dickie and James Watt, founders of Brewdog.

A Cairngorms National Park Authority spokesperson said: “Peatland restoration and woodland expansion are key objectives in the Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan to help tackle the climate emergency and expand habitats for wildlife.

“However, with some elements of their proposals likely to be subject to planning permission, we cannot comment further.”

Our sister paper, The Strathy, contacted BrewDog for more details but got no response.

Kinrara House and the adjacent land is owned by Danish clothing billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen.

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