Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve

Duchess Wood

General info

Read the executive summary

Duchess Wood in the west of Helensburgh is Argyll and Bute’s only local nature reserve. The Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve Committee is a partnership committee responsible for looking after the wood, and there is a management plan which sets out the aims for the woodland from 2012 to 2016.

The wood is well used and valued by the local community and visitors. Scottish National Heritage’s Ancient Woodland Inventory recognises it as a ‘Woodland of Long Established Plantation Origin’, while the main paths through the Wood are designated as Core Paths.

Owned by Luss Estates Ltd, in 2010 a renewal of the Management Agreement for a further ten years gave Argyll and Bute Council the right to manage the wood as a Local Nature Reserve. This task has been delegated to the Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve Committee which oversees the wood on behalf of the council.

Duchess Wood

Partnership working is very much in evidence when it comes to Duchess Wood. A local charity, Friends of Duchess Wood, helps out with day to day tasks in the Wood, fund-raising and recently led on the development of the Management Plan. Other agencies also provide support, including Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and Lower Clyde Greenspace. The wood is managed to be ‘multipurpose’, to be enjoyed by many different groups and people,  and both public bodies and voluntary organisations work together closely to achieve this.

The long-term aims for Duchess Wood are:

  • Maintaining the semi-natural habitat
  • Conserve and improve biodiversity
  • Provide and enhance public access
  • Maintain paths, access and other facilities used by visitors
  • Encourage and publicise research
  • Encourage and promote education and recreation
  • Support the involvement of volunteers

Built around these aims are a number of activities. These include maintenance tasks such as removal of storm damaged trees, Japanese knotweed and rhododendron, investigating the best way to use timber from the wood, and planting/replanting programmes. There is also work to do on making sure that paths and signage are clear and well maintained so that visitors can make the most of all that the woodland has to offer. Many other activities are undertaken including clearing litter, maintaining paths and car parking and forging links with local schools. More detailed information can be found in the management plan.

Useful links

Friends of Duchess Wood ( www.duchesswood.org.uk )

Scottish Natural Heritage ( www.snh.gov.uk )

Forestry Commission ( www.forestry.gov.uk )

Luss Estates ( www.lussestates.co.uk )

Committee membership:

The Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve Committee has responsibility to oversee the Wood’s management on behalf of the Council.

 The Committee meets on a quarterly basis, minutes and agendas for the meetings are available on this website.

The Committee currently comprises:

  • Councillor Aileen Morton
  • Stuart McCracken
  • David Chandler
  • Charlie Cairns
  • Simon Mills
  • Iain Wilkinson
  • Stewart Campbell
  • Alastair Macbeth
  • Morevain Martin
  • Morag Bain 

If you have any queries about Duchess Wood please contact duchesswood@argyll-bute.gov.uk

If you have any queries regarding the Committee, please contact Cllr Aileen Morton – aileen.morton@argyll-bute.gov.uk