The entrance to the Black Wood at Dall
The track leading into the eastern end of the Black Wood
The Black Wood of Rannoch is one of the few remaining patches of the original Caledonian Pine Forest that once covered the whole of Scotland. It lies to the West of Dall (Rannoch School) and is about 3 miles long. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), as designated by the SNH (Scottish Natural Heritage). The management plan aims to extend the Black Wood by removing the Non-Native trees in the periphery and allowing regeneration.
Native trees include Scots Pine, Birch, Rowan, Alder, Goat Willow, Bird Cherry and Juniper.
Scots Pine Bark - looking like reptilian scales and Juniper in the Black Wood of Rannoch
A cushion of Polytrichum commune in a boggy area of the Black Wood
Trees covered in lichen - indicators of pure air
Some of the interesting birds and animals are : Capercaillie, Cross-bill, Green Woodpecker, Scottish Wood Ant, Red Squirrel, Pine Marten.
Regeneration of Scots Pine is thought to be hindered by the browsing of roe and red deer and these are controlled by shooting.
There are also many interesting fungi and insects.
Peter Orton has extensively studied the Fungi and Beetles of the Black Wood. It was a favourite collecting area for Victorian naturalists such as Donisthorpe.
In the centre of the Black Wood are the remains of canals that were used for floating logs when they were felled in the seventeenth century. The logs were shot down shoots to the Loch to be floated away. In the Second World War the Canadian felled trees at the eastern end of the wood and there are sawdust pits still visible near Dall.