We took ownership of part of Muirdrochwood Forest on Friday 26th March 2021 on behalf of the Community of Carsphairn.
This project was initiated by Carsphairn Community Trust when Forest Enterprise (FE -now Forest and Land Scotland) notified the sale of Muirdrochwood Forest in 2016. All the hard work finally paid off and the locals and general public can now enjoy the benefits of a Community-owned woodland at Carsphairn, in the northern part of the Stewartry, Dumfries and Galloway.
We are grateful to funders for the acquisition: the Scottish Land Fund and Carsphairn Renewable Energy Fund Ltd., along with a discount from FE for the public benefits the project will deliver. Hurdles that had to be overcome along the way included the discovery of Larch disease and, of course, the pandemic.
Community ownership of the woodland will provide greater access to the countryside around us, allowing a more diverse woodland environment for wildlife to be created, for people to enjoy walking and picnicing in, and also to create a community hub for outdoor volunteering, activities and skills development.
Over the winter of 2021-22 development work was able to go ahead, after securing funding from South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE). The work has entailed clearance of some spruce to make way for the community forest shed and the volunteer building that we hope to install soon. Diseased Larch trees had to be felled and although it was a shame to lose some of these trees, it has created an area where we can plant native broadleaf trees for future generations to enjoy and restore an area of Planted Ancient Woodland (PAWS). The SoSE grant funded the forest shed and forest machinery which enables CCW to employ staff to manage the woodland, run forestry and rural skills training courses, a sustainable woodfuel enterprise for supply and to create a space for the community to gather and undertake activities in the woodland. The income from the felling will enable us to extend our activities to making wood products.
Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership have been very supportive of our project and have funded picnic benches, signage and the beautiful Hide on the Hill overlooking the Water of Ken.
David McMillan, Chair of Carsphairn Community Woodland, says: "Carsphairn is a rural community working towards regeneration of an area with low employment opportunities and few outdoor community facilities. Taking ownership of this area of woodland within Muirdrochwood Forest will enable us to manage it sustainably for recreation and the well-being of the local residents and visitors, whilst enhancing the natural environment.
"New footpaths will enhance local recreational and learning opportunities for the community and a sustainable, local, woodfuel supply will be created. It will also help to provide some local employment and allow us to restructure the woodland to maximise the benefit for both people and wildlife, providing a much-needed outdoor space for the community."
Chairman - David McMillan
Company Secretary - David McMillan
Secretary - Wendy Fenton
Treasurer - Wendy Fenton
Membership Secretary - Pauline Watt
Board Members - Steve Cowley, Alison Bradley, Grigor Watt, Bryan Cockburn, Michael Ansell
Membership is open to anyone living within the Carsphairn Community - anyone living outwith the area can become a supporter for free by emailing indication of their support to the Membership Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The signed form and membership fee (£1) requires to be given to any of the directors (see above) or posted to the Membership Secretary c/o Kirkholm, Carsphairn, DG7 3TQ.
CCWL is a Company Limited by Guarantee and registered at Companies House. The Board of management is made up of local people who are members of the company and who apply to become Directors, giving up their time for free.
The Directors are not paid and are not responsible for any debts incurred by the company.
If you are interested in becoming involved, please contact us: email@example.com