Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has awarded £6,000 to Morven Community Woodlands (MCW) to help pay for the study.
The group has registered an interest under the Community Right to Buy legislation in purchasing Killundine Estate in Morvern, which is expected to be put up for sale in the foreseeable future.
The 2,392-hectare estate is made up of mixed pasture, hill ground, woodland, farm buildings and residential properties. It is managed on behalf of the current owners by a land management company.
MCW believes the estate could be managed in a way that creates new business and training opportunities, stabilises the local population, and retains and attracts more young people.
The economic assessment will explore the potential benefits of improving the housing stock and creating self-build plots, as well as woodland crofts or small holdings. It will also cover native woodland expansion and deer stalking, tourism activities such as footpaths, cycle routes and camping, and the potential for renewable energy projects.
The findings of the study will inform the community group’s thinking on whether to pursue ownership.
John MacDonald, development manager in HIE’s community assets team, said:
“The economic assessment will provide useful information on the type of projects that Morvern Community Woodlands could focus on, should they ultimately acquire Killundine Estate. It will be extremely valuable in assessing their options ahead of any approach to the Scottish Land Fund. We are pleased to be able to support this piece of work and look forward to hearing its conclusions.”
Veronique Walraven, chair of Morvern Community Woodlands said:
“Morvern Community Woodlands believes that bringing Killundine Estate into community ownership could be of huge social and economic benefit to the people of Morvern and we hope that the economic appraisal will give us more insight to both the costs and benefits of this. To get to this point has been an enormous amount of work, which has been done on an entirely voluntary basis. We are very grateful for the contribution of HIE towards the cost of the initial economic appraisal of Killundine Estate and we are looking forward to their continued support in the future.”