History of Culbin Sands

In 1921, the Forestry Commission acquired land at Culbin Sands as part of its mission to replenish Britain's forests after World War I.

Culbin Sands has a long history. In the 13th century, it was recorded as part of the Barony of Culbin, owned by the Murrays. During the 15th century, the Kinnaird family inherited the small estate.

1st edition Ordnance Survey 6- inch map published in 1871. On this map, you can see that forests are established to the south, but Culbin Sands is bare

Famously, a small farming township was lost here during the 17th century.  Local farmers used the coastal dune grasses to thatch the roofs of their houses. However, this vegetation kept the sand dunes in place. With its removal, the wind began to blow the sands inland and slowly the coastline eroded away.

In 1694, a sandstorm destroyed the farms resulting in the abandonment of the estate. In 1695, a Scottish Parliament Act banned the removal of dune grasses to prevent similar erosion happening in other places.

During the 19th century, local estates began to plant trees around the area; a few attempts were made at Culbin.

The Forestry Commission began planting both trees and dune grass, to help stabilise the sand in 1922. This was not very successful.

In the 1930s, it experimented with laying a thatch of tree branches along the ground to hold the sand dunes. As a result, you can visit and explore Culbin Forest today.