Woodland Crofts for the Black Isle?
An article referenced in the latest newsletter from the Scottish Community Alliance puts forward the idea of Woodland Crofts, with examples from Glengarry near Fort William
Local people in Glengarry are creating woodland crofts in nearby forests – affordable family homes designed for craftspeople, carpenters and small-scale farmers, using a shared ownership model designed to combat the soaring costs of scarce rural homes.
. . . .
There has been a recent surge of interest in woodland crofts, caused by the Covid crisis, Brexit, and a growing desire for low-carbon living, said Jamie McIntyre, who co-founded the Woodland Crofts Partnership, an advocacy and advice campaign.
Perhaps this is an idea which could be fed into Forestry and Land Scotland's updating of its Black Isle management plan?
Evanton Community Wood
Evanton Wood Community Company was established in 2007 following an approach to the community by Novar Estate to sell the 65 hectare mature wood immediately behind the village, bordered by the Allt Graad/R.Glass and Blackrock Gorge. This has long been an important amenity for the community.
The Company is a very active group of about 80 members which as well as managing the wood runs an extensive programme of social and educational activities.
More information is available here , and on the Company's very pictorial website at www.evantonwood.com .
Contact Adrian Clark
7 Camden Street, Evanton IV16 9XU
2019 Mag's Wood shelter completed
In 2019 Evanton Community Woodland volunteers completed a year-long project to build a visitors' shelter in the Mag's Wood area away from the existing visitor/education cabin and children's play area, to encourage groups to make increased use of this end of the wood.
The shelter is built largely from wind-blown timber from the wood, and uses a method of 'reciprocal' roof construction in which the round logs forming the main beams are held in place by their own weight as they interlock at the apex of the roof.
View the story of the construction in pictures
Roof designer Henry Fosbrooke's website
June 2019 Abriachan Forest Trust wins Finest Woods award
Dietrich Pannwitz of Sylvestrus Ltd has told us of the success of Abriachan Forest Trust, whose woodland he helps to manage, in being 'Highly Commended' in a competition run by the Scotland's Finest Woods Awards organisation. Their success was achieved in the organisation's new "1919 Forestry Act Centenary Award", and the award was presented to representatives of the trust by Fergus Ewing, MSP and Minister for Forestry, at the Royal Highland Show on 21 June.
Below is a summary of the Judges' verdict on the Trust's entry
"There is a clear management plan for the Trust’s woodland, which they are working towards. The facilities are interesting and novel in many cases and are well maintained. Public health and safety appears to be well managed with regular inspections. The strong emphasis on social good is impressive and there is a lot of ingenuity in finding new ways of raising funds, such as an SLA with Highland Council for school visits. The woodland is inspiring. However, it may find problems with funding if timber prices decrease, and new funding to replace any loss of EU money is more difficult to obtain. The future vision is to continue to develop the woodland as it has been, and seek opportunistic funding where it is available. The danger being that this may detract from the woodland management objectives. The project has been great for community cohesion, and the Trust is to be highly commended to making a lot from a not particularly rich asset to begin with."
Abriachan Forest Trust website (not up to date)
Scotland's Finest Woods Awards
Abriachan Forest Trust
From the Trust's website
Abriachan is a scattered rural community of about 140 people set high above the shores of Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. There are still some active crofts but the majority of inhabitants are employed in Inverness and beyond. The local school closed in 1958 so Abriachan’s children now attend Dochgarroch Primary and Charleston Academy.
In 1998 the community purchased 534 hectares of forest and open hill ground from Forest Enterprise. Since then, as a social enterprise, the Abriachan Forest Trust has managed this land to create local employment, improve the environment and encourage it's enjoyment by the public through a network of spectacular paths, family suited mountain bike trails and innovative education opportunities.
Aultnaskiach Dell Community Woodland
A hidden oasis in the middle of Inverness, Aultnaskiach Dell has recently been established as a productive and recreational community woodland, thanks to a generous initiative by the owner and the hard work of a dedicated group of local residents. Learn more from the Chair of the managing group.
'Forest School' for primary pupils at Aultnaskiach Dell features in the winter 2021-22 newsletter of the Community Woodlands Association.
Community Woodlands Association
Culbokie Community Trust - Culbokie Woods Project
From the CCT website:
The woods to the south of the village are a fantastic resource, enjoyed by walkers (with and without dogs!), cyclists, bird watchers, wild food foragers and lots more. Culbokie Community Trust has a small group which liaises with the Forestry Commission to improve facilities, and promotes some of the lesser-known features of the woods, historical, geological and biological. In particular, we are hoping to secure funding for a new path to give access to views of the loch.
Other plans include guided walks, bat spotting, and work parties to keep the paths clear. If anyone is interesting in helping with either group, please contact email@example.com.
Maps and Leaflets
The group has produced a downloadable information leaflet which includes details about the management, geology, wildlife, history and folklore of the woodland. A map is also available as a separate document.
Strathnairn Community Woodlands
The community of Strathnairn took over the ownership of School and Milton woods in Farr in 2003. School Wood (approx. 12.14 hectares) sits immediately behind Farr Primary School. Milton Wood (28 hectares) may be found opposite to the 'Rennie Macintosh' style houses at the west end of Farr. Both woodlands contain areas of environmental / scenic interest, and exhibit a mix of trees which offer a habitat for woodpeckers, red squirrels, foxes, bats, badgers as well as a good variety of plants, mosses, lichens and fungi.
Access is easy using well defined footpaths and good car parking. Find more information on the Strathnairn Community website at http://www.strathnairn.org.uk. (community woodland information is not up to date)
- Wednesday 22 March
- 16:30 BI Local Place Plan local consultation - Munlochy
- 18:00 Opportunity Cromarty Firth - Green Freeport webinar
- 10:00 SCCAN Annual Gathering Edinburgh
- Thursday 23 March
- 10:15 CSI Ross-Shire AGM 2023
- 10:00 Scottish Government Resilient Communities workshops
- Friday 24 March
- NA Climate Week North East - to Sunday 2 April
- Saturday 25 March
- 12:00 Raasay Community Climate Festival
- 13:00 Black Isle Repair Cafe Cromarty
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