In the sheltered lee of Tor Clunes, Reelig Glen Wood is a mixture of old conifer and broadleaved trees, set in a narrow, steep-sided glen with the Moniack Burn running through its midst. An old policy woodland, there are magnificent examples of elderly parent trees which along with their offspring create a radiance of colour particularly in the autumn sun.
There are a series of short walks through the spectacular trees of this Forestry Commission wood which is effectively a wild natural garden.
The Fraser family, who owned the land for 500 years, planted many species of trees in the early 1800s, the present character of Reelig Glen owes much to James Baillie Fraser (1783 - 1856) who planted many of the trees which are found here today.
The main walk itself follows built paths and is ideal for families, and there are further more rugged walks for the more adventurous. Its sheltered location also makes it a good choice in any weather!
At the top of the main walk there is a stone bridge and grotto, called Tigh an Aigh. The glen became known as the ‘Fairy Glen’, when in the 1840s James Baillie Fraser created work for those suffering during the clearances. He employed local men during the day who said it was a place of fairies and ghosts because each morning they returned to find their previous days work
undone. It seems shift work is not a new phenomenon!
Reelig Glen was sold to the Forestry Commission in 1949 and has remained in its management since.
The most impressive feature of the woodland in Reelig Glen is the stand of Douglas Fir trees, well over 100 years old with an average height of 160 - 170 feet, around 50 metres. Four of these conifers have been identified as being four of the tallest trees in Britain.
One of the firs is Britain's tallest tree at 217.10ft (66.4m). The other three Reelig trees all measure higher than 147.7ft (45m).
They are the tallest larch in Britain at 157,5ft (48m), a 154.2ft-high (47m) Norway spruce and Britain's tallest lime tree which stands at 150.11ft (46m).
The trees formed a grove of the largest concentration of trees exceeding 180ft (55m) anywhere in the British Isles.
Giles Brockman, environment manager for the commission's team in Inverness, Ross and Skye,gave an interview to BBC news in 2014. "We've always known that we have some of the finest air and richest soil up here, but we're beginning to think there might be something special about the waters in the Moniack Burn too."
The nationally known Tall Trees walk has recently been upgraded, with an additional upper level network added to offer an insight into some of the best examples of tree species in Britain.