Forest land to become community woodland

Carol McGinnes from Forest Enterprise Scotland and Neil Ritch from Big Lottery hand over title for the Carron Valley Community Woodland and to Peter Hayward of the community council and Margaret Porter of Valley Renewables Group
Carol McGinnes from Forest Enterprise Scotland and Neil Ritch from Big Lottery hand over title for the Carron Valley Community Woodland and to Peter Hayward of the community council and Margaret Porter of Valley Renewables Group

The Carron Valley community has acquired 50 acres of forest land to create a community woodland.

The transfer of the land was made possible by a grant of £130,000 from the Big Lottery, in partnership with the Scottish Land Fund.

Valley Renewables Group chairwoman Margaret Porter and community council chairman Peter Hayward received the land title from Carol McGinnes, regional manager of Forest Enterprise Scotland.

In addition Neil Ritch, deputy director of the Big Lottery, presented a symbolic bundle of sticks and a bag of soil.

The community plans to open up mature woodland and uncover historical features, with new walks, improved riverside access along the Carron and open glades.

Windblown and mature conifers will be felled for community wood fuel, and to the south some sitka spruce will be replaced with naturally regenerated native broad leaves such as alder and rowan.

Native woodland will be coppiced to provide sustainable fuel for the community and there will also be open rides, walks and a large area of wetlands to encourage habitat diversity.

Future plans include a community base for events and activities, as well as a cafe for residents and the large number of visitors who go for the mountain biking, cycling, fishing and walking.

Ongoing investment will come from the wind farms at Craigengelt, Earlsburn and Kingsburn.

As the community has no community centre, shop, school, or church this will provide a new focus and attraction to residents and visitors.

Margaret said: “This will be a major new asset to community life and will complement existing recreational features, enhance the diversity of plant and animal life, and provide a sustainable source of fuel for residents. We are grateful for the co-operation we have had in making this possible.””