CHRIS Packham has branded an area of Scotland as a "barren moorland". 

The naturalist and broadcaster said Glencoe needs an explosion of natural woodland to help wildlife flourish.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Tuesday, Packham (below) said: “I remember going through as a kid and going ‘wow, Scottish wilderness, fantastic’.

“But that when I was a kid in the late 1960s, early 1970s. We’ve all learned now that that landscape is broken and it needs fixing, and we can fix it.

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“It didn’t ought to be a barren, overgrazed moorland. It ought to be patches of woodland, patches of space where wildlife can prosper.

“Glencoe – it’s sad driving through there. There are blocks of non-native forestry which aren’t great for biodiversity and aren’t great for employing people.

“It could be doing so much more.”

Packham has been in the Highlands to visit Dundreggan, a 10,000-acre estate south of Inverness which Findhorn-based charity Tress for Life is rewilding.

He said restoring habitats could help Scotland’s economy through eco-tourism.

“From my point of view, Scotland is the mecca for UK wildlife – you have got so many rare, endangered, sexy species,” he said.

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“We keep gravitating here and spending our money here. We love this country, there’s no doubt about it, so why not invest in these landscapes to make them even better.”

He said he believed places like Glencoe could be "fixed" by rewilding parts of it. 

In response to Packham’s comments, a Scottish Government spokesperson said plans were continuing “at pace” to restore Scotland’s natural environment and tackle the climate crisis.

They said: “The scale of this task requires both the private and public sectors to work together to deliver the action needed.

“In Glencoe, this spirit of cooperation can be seen in the development of the world’s first rewilding centre at the Dundreggan Estate in Glenmoriston, which has received over £700,00 in Scottish Government funding from NatureScot.

“We recognise the long-term nature of restoration efforts and have set out a 25-year vision for Scotland in our Biodiversity Strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and reverse declines.

“We are committed to designating at least one new National Park in Scotland by 2026.

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"We believe our National Parks provide bold leadership on nature restoration and should be exemplars of how to tackle the biodiversity and climate crises while delivering better social and economic outcomes for local communities.

“Through our £65 million Nature Restoration Fund, and responsible private investment such as that delivered through the Peatland Code and Woodland Carbon Code, we supporting nature restoration projects across Scotland that address local priorities for nature, and benefit both our rural communities and wildlife alike.”