Following a lot of work and a fairly long legal process, the Culduthel Woods are now (from June 2022) legally owned by the Culduthel Woods Group. Thanks to colleagues at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Highland Council, the Community Council and at Murchison Law in Inverness (and many others) for helping us get to this stage.
A legal review of land-ownership was undertaken in 2018/19 and we found out that:
- Up until 2002 the woods (extending to around 5 to 6 Ha.) and some surrounding land were owned by a company called Tullochs Homes (Culduthel) Ltd. In 2002 the company was “dissolved voluntarily”, presumably because they had built all of the houses that they could and had no further interest in the woods.
- In Scots law, the title of the land in such situations falls to the Crown, whose representative in Scotland was a little-known organisation called “The Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer” (QLTR) as it was called then - it is now the King's and Lord Treasurer's Rememberencer (KLTR).
- In 2013/14 the QLTR corresponded with The Highland Council and the Community Council about the land – but neither organisation was inclined, or able, to take on ownership of the land.
- The QLTR was not obliged to own and manage any land and, in July 2014, they formally "disclaimed" the land. This left the land and the woods technically ownerless.
- It is important to note that all of the trees were still protected by the Highland Council’s Tree Preservation Order and that it is an offence for any person to cut or prune a tree without permission.