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main image Bonawe iron works, Argyll
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the iron industry was attracted to the Highlands by the area's woodland resources. Timber was used to make charcoal – the fuel used to smelt, forge and cast iron. The Bonawe iron works, one of the last of its kind, was established in 1752 and worked until 1876.

The earliest iron works were established in Wester Ross, early in the 17th century. It took one acre of well-managed coppice wood to make a ton of pig iron. Bonawe needed at least 10,000 acres to keep going.

This prompted concern over the loss of woodland and led the Scottish Parliament to pass an 'Act anent the making of Yrne with Wode', in 1609.

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