Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis are widely regarded as one of the best places in Britain for its diversity of wildlife, natural native woodland and unique geology. It’s a landscape of contrasts and extremes from woodlands on the lower levels of the glen to the vast mountainous areas that dominate the skyline. It is an area that is both rich and fragile in its biodiversity and, consequently, calls for careful, sensitive protection and conservation.
Ben Nevis and the peaks surrounding Glen Nevis support an outstanding wealth of wildlife, quite distinct from that in the glen and superbly adapted to the very different conditions which occur there. As you climb out of the glen the vegetation changes. You’ll find heather as an almost constant companion but many plants such as bracken disappear and new ones take over as you approach the high tops. In fact, with a bit of practice, you can judge your altitude surprisingly well by these changes. The climate changes dramatically with increasing height above sea level and it doesn’t get any higher in Britain that the top of Ben Nevis. Here extreme temperatures, frequent mists and fierce winds combine with rocky terrain and shallow soils to make conditions inhospitable to most there is life up here! Snow bunting, ptarmigan, meadow-pipit, ring-ouzel, raven & golden eagle all frequent Ben Nevis and its montane environment not to mention a whole host of Arctic-alpine plant species including Alpine Lady’s Mantle, Highland Saxifrage and Arctic Mouse-ear.
In Glen Nevis look out for wild flowers and furry friends. Wild flowers grow in abundance during the summer, we are lucky to have Primrose, Butterwort, Devils-bit Scabious & Tormentil amongst the flora of Glen Nevis. We especially like the midge-eating Sundew! The largest animal you’re likely to encounter is the red deer however you might be lucky and spy a red squirrel, pine marten or the ever-elusive otter. If you venture far into the Glen you will discover the native Scots pine, a tree that once grew extensively throughout the ancient and long-gone Caledonian Pine Forest. Today just 1% of the estimated 1,500,000 hectare original forest area remains. The Scots pine is a hugely important tree and widely regarded as a keystone species in the ecosystem as it forms the ‘backbone’ on which many other species depend.