Forest land - A new outdoor area for Carsphairn and surrounding communities

Carsphairn Community Woodland Limited is committed to acquiring, developing and managing local woodland in a sustainable and environmentally sound way for the long-term benefit of the local community.

Update – February 2020

The Directors of Carsphairn Community Woodland (CCW) are delighted to announce that the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) have awarded us a grant of £209,000 which, along with a discount awarded by Forestry and Land Scotland and local funding from CREFL, will allow the Community to take ownership of the 49 ha of Muirdrochwood Forest for the benefit of local residents and visitors. The press release, issued by SLF can be found here. This fund is for purchase of the forest and the process of transferring ownership could take up to 6 months.

Muirdrochwood Forest will be acquired from Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) through the Community Asset Transfer Scheme. The forest lies to the south of the B729 and adjacent to the Water of Ken and Kendoon Loch as outlined on the map (~49ha). The mixed forest has a number of historical features.

The aim is to create opportunities to help regenerate the area through new jobs, outdoor facilities and an enhanced environment. We believe this will help to make us a more resilient community and to address some of the rural issues we face.

Planned activities for the community include: a Community Hub for workshops and community events; providing wood fuel; circular pathways through the woodland giving access to picnic sites by the Water of Ken and Kendoon Loch. The forest is currently mostly Sitka spruce and larch with some broadleaved areas so the community will work towards a more diverse woodland with open spaces amongst areas of productive forest.

The Carsphairn area has an ageing and decreasing population, largely due to land management changes and a reduction in job opportunities. The community is keen to see a reversal of this trend and encourage younger families and entrepreneurs to the area. This project will provide a great outdoor space for people of all ages to enjoy, live and prosper.

CCW have worked with the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) since the inception of the project in 2016. Work carried out so far has included community surveys and open days, along with visits to existing community forests around Scotland (some funded through the Community Learning Exchange Fund, some through the Community Woodland Association, the latter who have provided extensive advice and guidance). SLF will fund the bulk of the purchase costs and FLS have offered a substantial discount on the market price related to the community benefits that will be provided through the project. Additional local funding will contribute to the acquisition.

Time-scale: The Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS) request for this area of woodland was agreed to in Nov 2019, endorsing our comprehensive and sustainable Business Plan, which included a 25 year projection. Our application for funding to SLF was accepted in late January 2020 and acquisition should take place by July 2020.

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.

CCWL's Companies House entry

For more information or to contact CCWL, please email the Secretary: carsphairncw@gmail.com

Current Office Bearers -

Chairman - David McMillan

Company Secretary - Sandy Moffat

Secretary - Wendy Fenton

Treasurer - Alison Bradley

Board Members - Steve Cowley, Juliet Dixon.