The health of our rivers and the life within them, is directly dependent on the landscapes through which they flow.


Riverwoods is a story that reveals a devastating truth lying hidden in the majestic mountains and glens of a nation. It’s a story about a landscape in urgent need of recovery.

Scotland’s international reputation for beauty and drama belies a land disturbed. Millions of treeless acres dominate the map. Natural processes are stifled, and invisible are the animals that have been hunted to extinction. All represent a gap in Scotland’s natural web of life and edging ever closer to that gap, mirroring the vast ecologically depleted landscape, is the King of Fish, the Atlantic salmon.


There are salmon in the forest. Not only in the rivers but also in the trees. And in the soil that spawns the trees. And in the predators, scavengers and even herbivores that live amongst the trees. The King of Fish is not only the ultimate angler’s prize, but also a key building block in a vibrant forest ecosystem and all it supports.

But in return, salmon need the support of a rich and diverse landscape that stretches far beyond the banks of the river. Over many centuries the loss of Scotland’s natural woodlands and complex vegetation communities has profoundly changed its rivers and their ability to support the huge salmon runs that once flourished.

In other parts of the world, this ancient interdependency that has shaped river systems for thousands of years, reaches further than the water’s edge. Across Canada and North America, the salmon travel much deeper into the forest, dragged into the understorey by wolves, bears and eagles. Far from the river, the salmon are feeding nutrients to the forest soil.

Across Scotland’s woodland-depleted river catchments, these eternal ecological relationships that bind the soil, store carbon and slow water run-off, are broken. But today, an idea is taking hold.



We’ve brought together a group of expert scientists with a top-class team of filmmakers and musicians. Working alongside a diverse range of partners, we will tell a compelling story that reveals the inextricable relationship between salmon and trees and how that fractured connection is being repaired through the insight and foresight of many different people.  


Riverwoods is a spectacular and compelling visual journey, interspersed with fascinating key interviews, showing how the life-rich rivers of Scotland have been greatly diminished, and how they could be reborn. By showcasing temperate landscapes where salmon numbers remain strong, Riverwoods will present a vision for catchment restoration across Scotland. The return of ospreys, sea eagles and beavers are symbolic of fresh thinking and offer a glimpse into what else might be possible. Now more than ever, Scotland’s salmon and the rivers they depend upon need to benefit from fresh thinking.

The salmon needs the forest. The forest needs the salmon. And Scotland needs them both. 


In partnership with Salt House, one of Scotland’s most exciting folk bands, the Riverwoods film will be accompanied by a unique collection of songs to be performed live alongside film screenings, as well as being available on CD.



Let’s rewrite the story of Scotland’s rivers. Together.