European Rewilding Network
069

Uist Forest Retreat

A model example of a nature-based tourism startup

Uist Forest Retreat Cabins are built on ‘legs’ to avoid foundations on the land.
The breathtaking view of the Traigh Udal beach in North Uist.
Dark skies, milky way and northern lights - light pollution here is low and there is a great opportunity to view stars and even the northern lights during the winter months.
Uist Forest Retreat was created to offer the highest standard of accommodation in an exceptional location that comes complete with forest and sea views.
The uniquely designed treehouse cabins are nestled amongst the forest with views out to long sandy beaches, Vallay island and the hills of Harris in the distance.

From dramatic moorland and rocky coastlines to the fertile machair and endless beaches, Uist island hosts some of Scotland’s finest examples of flora, fauna and wildlife. The secluded forest cabins of Uist Forest Retreat are built sustainably and allow guests to experience the exceptional environment and remarkable landscape of the Outer Hebrides.  Nestled in nature, it offers a real opportunity for guests to connect with the natural world and experience the truly unique environment. Together with the local partners, such as RSPB, this nature based business is working to rewild the surrounding area by bringing more diversity to the forest plantation,  transforming  a conifer plantation into a mixed woodland, enabling more roosting space for the white tailed eagle, building and operating feeding stations and wildlife watching hides, and in the future securing a protected area for the rich local birdlife.

Project: Uist Forest Retreat
Region: North Uist Island, Outer Hebrides
Type of protection: National Scenic Area surrounded with Natura 2000 sites
Habitat types: Northern coniferous forest
Keystone species: White tailed eagle
Fauna (mega) species present: Red deer
Aim and vision: Uist Forest retreat aims to enable an environment that will nurture an even greater variety of wildlife and bring more diversity back to the plantation. Furthermore, the white-tailed eagle has unfortunately suffered from some negative headlines from the local newspapers and their presence is not always welcome within the local crofting community. Through use of multimedia we aim to promote positive engagement and awareness within the local community.
We are making a commitment to habitat regeneration surrounding the retreat, prioritizing environmental sustainability, for the health of our ecosystem, our wildlife and the well being of our visitors. With this lies a desire to see natural processes restored and a vibrant landscape where an even greater variety of wildlife species can flourish.

Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Recreational activities, Research
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: A vibrant and diverse landscape surrounding the retreat, that offers guests the ideal location to connect with the natural environment. Where photographers and walkers can find inspiration, unique opportunities to get close to wildlife and experience a great sense of well being. In 10 years time we hope we will have restored a mixed selection of native trees to the area and this will be a place where wildlife can flourish and people can revive.
Results so far: A highly positive reception from guests since we opened in August 2018, confirming that our vision for what the location could offer guests is indeed being well received. Identification of potential location of a feeding station for raptors and in particular the white-tailed eagle.
Inspirational value: We are learning all the time, from planning authority processes to utilities, marketing to finance, restoration of natural processes and native species, to wildlife behaviour and the challenges of remote filming in an extremely remote location. Our guests have had varied interests including birdlife, plant life, photography, cycling, walking, geology and creative writing. Our average age demographic is younger than the general trend for the Outer Hebrides. They have each found something here on Uist that is for them and have been delighted so far, leaving nothing less than 5 star reviews. We are continually seeking ways to work with other wildlife and nature tourism operators in the area to improve our marketing, lengthen the season and strengthen our offering to visitors. We know our journey is only just beginning and are inspired by the possibilities to allow the natural environment to flourish and improve the experience for our guests.
Experience you would like to share: How to start a self-catering business that wanted to be more than just wigwams dropped in a forest. Our journey to better understand the birdlife in the forest and how the forestry could co-exist with white –tailed eagles. How to identify opportunities for wildlife hides and feeding stations. What we have explored so far and the challenges to date.
Experience you would like to gain: We would love to learn how to make the most of the nature based opportunities around us and provide an amazing experience for our guests, how to encourage a greater diversity of wildlife and plant life on the land surrounding the cabins, methods to promote the local area as a wildlife / nature tourism destination. We would like to learn more about operations of wildlife hides and feeding stations for raptors. How to work with other nature tourism organisation in the area and together create a stronger marketing presence to attract visitors. In particular how to lengthen the tourism season. Broaden the knowledge of what it means to be a truly wild place and restore natural process and how we can help that journey with the resource that we have. Transferring from a conifer plantation towards a mixed woodland. Ways to retain small scale timber production in a sensitive and sustainable way.
Map
Country
UK, Scotland
Start year
2018
Size (ha)
560
Area type
Natural islands, Northern coniferous forest
Natural process
Other, Predation
Flagship species
Otter, Red deer, White-tailed eagle
Member of:
European Safari Company
Uist Forest Retreat Cabins are built on ‘legs’ to avoid foundations on the land.
The breathtaking view of the Traigh Udal beach in North Uist.
Dark skies, milky way and northern lights - light pollution here is low and there is a great opportunity to view stars and even the northern lights during the winter months.
Uist Forest Retreat was created to offer the highest standard of accommodation in an exceptional location that comes complete with forest and sea views.
The uniquely designed treehouse cabins are nestled amongst the forest with views out to long sandy beaches, Vallay island and the hills of Harris in the distance.

From dramatic moorland and rocky coastlines to the fertile machair and endless beaches, Uist island hosts some of Scotland’s finest examples of flora, fauna and wildlife. The secluded forest cabins of Uist Forest Retreat are built sustainably and allow guests to experience the exceptional environment and remarkable landscape of the Outer Hebrides.  Nestled in nature, it offers a real opportunity for guests to connect with the natural world and experience the truly unique environment. Together with the local partners, such as RSPB, this nature based business is working to rewild the surrounding area by bringing more diversity to the forest plantation,  transforming  a conifer plantation into a mixed woodland, enabling more roosting space for the white tailed eagle, building and operating feeding stations and wildlife watching hides, and in the future securing a protected area for the rich local birdlife.

Map
Country
UK, Scotland
Start year
2018
Size (ha)
560
Area type
Natural islands, Northern coniferous forest
Natural process
Other, Predation
Flagship species
Otter, Red deer, White-tailed eagle
Specification
Project: Uist Forest Retreat
Region: North Uist Island, Outer Hebrides
Type of protection: National Scenic Area surrounded with Natura 2000 sites
Habitat types: Northern coniferous forest
Keystone species: White tailed eagle
Fauna (mega) species present: Red deer
Description
Aim and vision: Uist Forest retreat aims to enable an environment that will nurture an even greater variety of wildlife and bring more diversity back to the plantation. Furthermore, the white-tailed eagle has unfortunately suffered from some negative headlines from the local newspapers and their presence is not always welcome within the local crofting community. Through use of multimedia we aim to promote positive engagement and awareness within the local community.
We are making a commitment to habitat regeneration surrounding the retreat, prioritizing environmental sustainability, for the health of our ecosystem, our wildlife and the well being of our visitors. With this lies a desire to see natural processes restored and a vibrant landscape where an even greater variety of wildlife species can flourish.

Other activities: Community involved, Eco tourism, Education, Recreational activities, Research
Achievements
Results you aim to accomplish in 10 years from now on: A vibrant and diverse landscape surrounding the retreat, that offers guests the ideal location to connect with the natural environment. Where photographers and walkers can find inspiration, unique opportunities to get close to wildlife and experience a great sense of well being. In 10 years time we hope we will have restored a mixed selection of native trees to the area and this will be a place where wildlife can flourish and people can revive.
Results so far: A highly positive reception from guests since we opened in August 2018, confirming that our vision for what the location could offer guests is indeed being well received. Identification of potential location of a feeding station for raptors and in particular the white-tailed eagle.
Exchange
Inspirational value: We are learning all the time, from planning authority processes to utilities, marketing to finance, restoration of natural processes and native species, to wildlife behaviour and the challenges of remote filming in an extremely remote location. Our guests have had varied interests including birdlife, plant life, photography, cycling, walking, geology and creative writing. Our average age demographic is younger than the general trend for the Outer Hebrides. They have each found something here on Uist that is for them and have been delighted so far, leaving nothing less than 5 star reviews. We are continually seeking ways to work with other wildlife and nature tourism operators in the area to improve our marketing, lengthen the season and strengthen our offering to visitors. We know our journey is only just beginning and are inspired by the possibilities to allow the natural environment to flourish and improve the experience for our guests.
Experience you would like to share: How to start a self-catering business that wanted to be more than just wigwams dropped in a forest. Our journey to better understand the birdlife in the forest and how the forestry could co-exist with white –tailed eagles. How to identify opportunities for wildlife hides and feeding stations. What we have explored so far and the challenges to date.<br />
Experience you would like to gain: We would love to learn how to make the most of the nature based opportunities around us and provide an amazing experience for our guests, how to encourage a greater diversity of wildlife and plant life on the land surrounding the cabins, methods to promote the local area as a wildlife / nature tourism destination. We would like to learn more about operations of wildlife hides and feeding stations for raptors. How to work with other nature tourism organisation in the area and together create a stronger marketing presence to attract visitors. In particular how to lengthen the tourism season. Broaden the knowledge of what it means to be a truly wild place and restore natural process and how we can help that journey with the resource that we have. Transferring from a conifer plantation towards a mixed woodland. Ways to retain small scale timber production in a sensitive and sustainable way.
Member of:
European Safari Company
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