A community owned and managed woodland for Comrie is now set to become a reality following a woodland creation grant from Scottish Forestry. This grant will fund deer fencing and tree planting across hill ground owned by Comrie Development Trust (CDT) and its 650 members. It is well-known that CDT purchased the Cultybraggan Camp site from the MoD in 2007. It is less well remembered that the MoD also sold a 46 acre area to the south of the camp.
The hill ground has been used for various purposes over the last 13 years including sheep grazing and hill running. At the moment it has only a small number of mature trees, but there are panoramic views over Comrie and the surrounding area. Many areas of the new woodland will remain as open ground to retain these views as well as biodiversity. Over the last 3 years, the CDT Woodland Group has been active in working on a detailed plan to develop a new native broadleaf woodland for use by the community to provide lasting social, recreational and economic benefits to local people.
Conservation principles are already followed in work on Cultybraggan Camp buildings and services and the woodland creation will have a positive impact on the landscape and enable the local community to play its part in environmental improvement. Perth and Kinross Council have commented positively about this project saying “new woodlands to increase woodland cover, particularly native woodland, are encouraged to achieve the Scottish Government target of 21% of Scotland being forest and woodland cover by 2032. New woodlands will make a significant contribution to carbon capture and achieving climate change targets.”
The tree species have been selected to match the land, soil and climate. The main species will Birch, Oak and Alder with smaller amounts of Scots Pine, Aspen, Rowan, Willow and Hazel. The plan is that the woodland will become a recreational area for local people and visitors once established. There have been a large number of suggestions for a diverse range of uses for the woodland, including the creation of nature trails, woodland skills development and education, woodland crafts, huts, sports e.g orienteering, bird watching hides, social activities/events and small local income generation. It is anticipated that many existing community groups with the relevant interests and skills will cooperate to achieve these outcomes.
With a Scottish Forestry grant of nearly £74,000 now approved for fencing, trees, planting and maintenance, the CDT Woodland Group is now focused on carrying out this project as well as fund raising for some essential associated works, including equipping volunteers to manage the woodland, a new bridge over the mill lade, and a small disabled parking area by the main gate. Welcoming news of the Woodland Creation grant, David Robertson, Chair of the Comrie Development Trust Board said: “This is to be another great development, which we will literally see growing over the coming years and decades, bringing so many benefits to the local community and future generations.”
The woodland group would love to hear from locals who might be interested in joining the committee or as a volunteer for woodland tasks, and from anyone else who would like to help out the woodland development in some way.
For further information please contact James Reid at the woodland group on firstname.lastname@example.org