Highlands & Islands

Sale of clearances land in Sutherland halted

Publically owned land with strong associations to the Highland Clearances has been withdrawn from sale following a request by the Scottish government.

Forestry Commission Scotland had sought to sell Rosal Forest in Strathnaver, Sutherland, after first offering it to the local community.

But Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse requested the land be withdrawn from sale.

A township at Rosal was cleared of its inhabitants in the 19th Century.

Forestry Commission Scotland said: "With no community interest being shown, Rosal Forest was offered for sale on the open market.

"Following a request from Environment and Climate Change Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, Rosal Forest has been withdrawn from sale and we are now reviewing the sale options."

The land formed part of the estates of the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland.

Their estate factor, Patrick Sellar, led the effort to clear families from Rosal between 1814 and 1818.

They were moved to the coast and the land at Rosal became part of a large-scale sheep farm rented to Mr Sellar.

It has been publically owned for about 100 years.

North Sutherland Community Forest Trust hopes to lease a small area, and the rest of the land was to be sold off.

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