Grant scheme to help Cairngorms land managers deliver quick wins for capercaillie

The Cairngorms Capercaillie Project’s new grant scheme, to help landmanagers in the Cairngorms National Park create more habitat for capercaillie, is open for applications from 1 February.

The Capercaillie Habitat Grant Scheme offers grants up to £5,000 – plus advice and support – to local landowners whose land holds some ‘quick wins’ for capercaillie. It is designed with small landowners in mind, and landowners and managers of any size, who want to undertake locally relevant actions to help capercaillie that are not funded through other schemes.

The grants can be used to help cover the cost of machinery, equipment, materials and contractors required to deliver a range of solutions. These include habitat expansion and reducing disturbance, for example by creating natural screening along forest tracks, predator control, and helping to reduce mortalities by marking fences.

A range of landowners have already taken advantage of the scheme to help capercaillie. They’ve successfully expanded capercaillie habitat by restructuring woodland; marked fences to avoid collisions; and cut heather to promote blaeberry growth and enable capercaillie and their broods to move freely around the forest floor.

Owners of a woodland near Grantown-On-Spey have already completed their grant-funded work to mark a fence on their land with wooden droppers, making it more visible for capercaillie to prevent collisions and potential mortalities.

Mike Dearman, the new owner of Lynamer near Abernethy, successfully applied for a grant in 2021 to remove non-native trees to allow Scots pine and native broadleaves to grow.

“After moving into our new home we were keen to find simple projects we could undertake to enhance biodiversity” said Mr Dearman. “The Cairngorms Capercaillie Project team helped us identify a number of ‘quick wins’ including the removal of non native trees as an effective way to improve our land for capercaillie and other species. The grant application process was straightforward, and now we have the tools and knowledge to continue to develop the native forest [at Lynamer] for years to come.”

Celebrating a wintry start to the spruce felling at Lynamer. Photo: M Dearman

The next window for applications opens on 1 February 2022. Interested landowners and managers are encouraged to contact as soon as possible.

For more information, including application guidelines and to apply for a grant, visit

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