The MacDonald woods on Skye, 1720–1920

T. C. Smout, Alan R. MacDonald and Fiona Watson

in A History of the Native Woodlands of Scotland, 1500-1920

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780748612413
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653331 | DOI:
The MacDonald woods on Skye, 1720–1920

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This chapter examines how woodland management decisions worked out on the ground with a case study of the MacDonald woods on Skye. The value of the woods of Sleat, the southernmost of Skye's many peninsulas, has long been recognised. Before the eighteenth century, due to the lack of surviving documentary sources, it is difficult to discern much about how the woods on the MacDonald estates on Skye were treated – how they were exploited and how they were managed. Not until the nineteenth century does any attempt appear to have been made to make commercial profit from naturally growing timber but it is clear that, many years earlier, some care was taken to preserve it and to utilise it as a resource. The earliest surviving records of woodkeepers on the MacDonald estates on Skye date from 1720. At this point, the lands were in the hands of the government, forfeited as a result of the support by Sir Donald MacDonald of Sleat for the 1715 Jacobite Rising.

Keywords: woods; Sleat; exploitation; woodland management; case study

Chapter.  9879 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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