CWA E-NEWSLETTER, Autumn 2012 Issue 19 CWA NEWS CWA Conference & Wooplaw 25 A 25 Year Celebration of Community Woodlands in Scotland The 13th annual CWA conference took place on the 1st and 2nd September 2012 at the Tweed Horizons Centre, Newtown St Boswells, in the Scottish Borders. The weekend has been hailed a great success, with 72 delegates from throughout Scotland and northern England making their way to the Borders; to network, share and be inspired by a diverse line up of speakers, workshops and a very special site visit. The conference was held alongside a weekend of festivities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Wooplaw Community Woodland, Scotland’s first community woodland buyout – located approx 10 miles from the Tweed Horizons Centre. Delegates were given the opportunity to join the celebrations, with presentations from Wooplaw Wardens, past and present and a site visit to the woodland on the Saturday afternoon. Delegates were also invited on the Sunday afternoon to join Maggie Stead for an open house at the workshop and home of Tim Stead – exceptional woodworker and founding member of Wooplaw Woodland. Our choice of location, venue and speakers reflected the theme of the weekend – 25 years and growing well! The celebrations provided opportunity for CWA to explore the roots of our organisation and a platform to explore the potential of community woodlands in the future. Topics up for discussion during the weekend included; Scottish Land Reform, working in partnership with local authorities and the NHS, woodland crofting, wild harvest and forest gardening. A few quotes from the great feedback CWA received: “This is the highlight of the year! It recharges all the batteries” “Lots of interesting people, lots of good inspiration, great ceilidh” “A great opportunity to find out more about other groups’ projects and learn from them” We would like to offer a big thank you to the Wooplaw Wardens, for their hard work and enthusiasm, also the volunteers and associated agencies that provided us with a brilliant site visit. Thanks to the various speakers and workshop hosts who entertained and informed us during our morning sessions, to the ceilidh band for putting on a great show, and thank you to everyone who made the journey to the Borders to help CWA and Wooplaw celebrate this fantastic milestone. Next year... CWA is 10 years old!!! We hope you can join us for the celebrations.
CONTENTS CWA NEWS CWA Conference & Wooplaw 25 CWA Awards 2012 CWA Knowledge Share Programme CWA MEMBER NEWS Rhubodach Forest Wooplaw Woods Friends of Duchess Woods Laggan Forest Trust New Caledonian Woods Dunbar Community Woods Galgael Trust GENERAL NEWS Woodland Crofts Update Community Land Fund, Committee Appointed NEXT EDITION Deadline for next newsletter STAFF CONTACTS
Photos from Mick Barnett
CWA AWARDS 2012 The CWA awards celebrate the hard work, determination, innovation and enthusiasm of Scotland’s community woodland groups; awards were given at the CWA conference in September. The Education and Training award went to Dunnet Forestry Trust for the woodland shelter project. DFT Board member Nettie has long held a dream of a building in the wood which could be used by the community for events, education and recreation. 2012 saw the realisation of her vision. She raised enough funding to not only create a log shelter, but to train a dozen people in building it – delivering a free log scribing course attracted delegates from near and far. Most importantly they included local unemployed youths and young people returning to the area, seeking to set up their own business. They are all now competent log scribers and learned some unexpected skills on top such as carving celtic knots and axe throwing! The shelter has information boards inside with educational and creative displays developed in partnership with RSPB, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, HC rangers and with local Primaries. There is a palpable buzz in the forest as new visitors come in especially to see the shelter, 400+ people attended an open day to celebrate its opening! The Arts, Culture and Heritage award went to Morvern Community Woodland Company for their performance of Shakespeare’s As You Like it. A total of 85 spectators came to see the production in Achnaha Community Woodlands in Morvern, over the weekend of 18 and 19 August 2012. Spectators had to walk through the woods to see the whole story. This project was initiated, directed, produced, and acted by local talent. A special award went to Wooplaw Woods, for their significant contribution to community woodlands over the past 25 years.
CWA Knowledge Share Programme >£2000 available for community woodland training events The CWA Knowledge Share programme supports CWA member groups to organise and deliver the training they need, at times and locations convenient for community groups. There is up to £2000 available per event to cover the costs of venue hire, catering, trainers and materials. Criteria: Training must relate to the creation, management or development of a community woodland: including craft, enterprise, practical management techniques, pest & invasive control, recreation and species selection, or to support the operation of a community woodland group: governance, communication, working with children, etc. Training events must be open to all CWA members, and should aim to attract at least 12 delegates. Funds will be made available upon completion of the training, following the submission of a short report and completed feedback. Reports (including feedback) for previous events can be downloaded from the CWA website. This support is open to all CWA member groups; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to apply. Please note we are not able to support the delivery of accredited training where it is a statutory requirement: including first aid, chainsaw certificates or forest school practitioner.
MEMBERS NEWS Rhubodach Forest (Bute Forest); Bute Painted Rock Trail Event
Laggan Forest Trust; Cairngorm National Park The wolf lives!
The Painted Rock Trail opening celebrations took place on the 9th August, and brought 50 visitors into the forest. The trail was opened by Rosemary Mullholland the projects lead volunteer, who invited the children to place painted rocks in their chosen spot along the trail. Rosemary said “through the painting of your rock and placing of it along this trail, you are becoming part of the history of the forest. The trees you see here will group taller, then they will be felled and new trees will grow in their place. Throughout all of this your rock will be here, showing the way along the path for all the visitors to come.” A colourful new sign by Tim Stobart marks the start of the trail along the access track in Rhubodach Forest.
There has been recent comment that the Wolftrax mountain biking centre is to close. This is far from the case.
The group walked along the trail choosing their favourite spots to place their rocks. Everyone stopped at “Bruce the Spruce” to make a wish before continuing along the path to Pigtail Bridge. The group moved along the trail to the picnic area at the end where Rosemary explained how the work of the Trail Blazer volunteers would be continuing and appealed for new volunteers to step forward. The group then headed off to the secret glade to hear stories about the secret forest creatures. There was pond dipping (led by Glyn Collis) which revealed a wealth of pond life – including a Diving Beetle colony – with large adults and larvae, water boatmen, pond skaters and lots of newts. The wicker bug making (led by Maria van Oostend) was a very popular activity – with the creation of dragonfly’s, butterflies, as well as an assortment of non-bug offerings such as birds, leaves and a flower. Source: http://www.buteforest.com/painted-rock-trail-event/
The Forestry Commission Scotland is continuing to operate the trails at Wolftrax, and The Laggan Forest Trust continues to be based there in their Strathmashie office, actively working towards the development of the Forest Centre and Wolftrax MTB Centre. Base Camp bike shop and café have decided not to renew their lease with Forestry Commission Scotland and have instead decided to concentrate on their shop and café in Grantown. The Laggan Forest Trust continues to work on their Development Project to create a Forest Centre at Laggan Wolftrax, the plans for which include a bike shop, café, community space, offices, toilets and showers for visitors to the forest and mountain bikers using the trails. The LFT has begun fund-raising for a new Blue Trail at the MTB centre to begin a programme of development of the trails which will ensure Wolftrax continues to be one of the best trail centres in Scotland. Other projects on going at Laggan include the development of a campsite, a wood fuel business and a path-building enterprise, all backed by funding from The Scottish Government’s Enterprise Growth Scheme. Recent successes include the employment of a local young person through the Community Jobs Scheme and award of a planting contract to a Laggan business. In the last eighteen months the LFT has been very successful in attracting locals and visitors to Strathmashie Forest, increasing attendance numbers from 6 at their first event to over 150 at last year’s Solstice Lantern Parade. They have worked with local community groups and organisations as well as schools and other conservation bodies. For example when “Honey” was staged at Strathmashie, children from four local schools attended this piece of environmental theatre and worked with LFT and the Forestry Commission on educational games and distributed material provided by Scottish Natural Heritage. Source: http://www.lagganforest.com/news/24-oct-2012-the-wolf-lives.asp
Wooplaw Community Woodland; Borders Now the trees can speak! WoopLore is an app that has been developed for Wooplaw Community Woodland as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations. WoopLore brings you stories about Wooplaw Community Woodland as you stand in the woods themselves. Hear from the people who have worked and played in the woods, from its beginnings to the present day. WoopLore will help you see the more hidden parts of the woods and unlock some of the magic that happens here. You can download WoopLore as an app, or an audio book, by visiting the Locus Focus website, or on location in the car park at Wooplaw Community Woodland. Source: http://www.wooplaw.org.uk/?page_id=1247
Friends of Duchess Woods; Helensburgh Conference of the Faeries Outdoor Theatre As part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, the Walking Theatre Company were in Helensburgh on the 28th October. Duchess Woods was the venue and romance was in the air... The “on the move” adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Conference of the Faeries was advertised as a “hen party like no other” and the performance did not disappoint. Despite poor weather the event was thoroughly enjoyed by all, with particular praise given to imagination that had gone into organisation of the performance, and to the actor’s clever audience interaction.
New Caledonian Woodlands Glamping at Kilfinan, by Donald McPhillimy At New Caledonian Woodlands we like to take our Biodiversity Weekend volunteers to the wilder, more beautiful parts of Scotland. Already this year we have been to Knoydart, Eigg, Glenlivet and Perthshire and next month we are going to Gigha. Funny enough we also like going to community owned places, where our efforts are always appreciated. So for lots of reasons, we were very happy to return to Tighnabruaich for the middle weekend in September and renew acquaintance with this fantastic project. Fourteen of us populated the hillside above the forest settlement with our tents, cooked in the portacabin kitchen and ate al fresco round the picnic table under the gazebo which gave perfect protection from the squally showers. It was cosy and friendly, like a camp in a developing country, complete with wafts of rich aromas from the toilet block next door. The work had jungle connotations too, following the burn, carving access tracks through the temperate rain forest, seeking always the path of least resistance but having no choice in places but to go straight through the Rhododendron ponticum, a species we all know well. It felt like exploring new territory, never before glimpsed. Then, beyond a particularly dense area of jungle, the sound of falling water increased and we emerged to stand slack jawed before the most beautiful waterfall. We re-doubled our efforts and soon the track was continuous to this beautiful spot, a highlight of any walk. Thus ended Saturday. Sunday; fortified by a cooked breakfast, we began again, from the waterfall, creating a series of loops through birch, rowan and light ponticum, to emerge at the Forest School circle and the viewpoint above the top parking area. One exciting trail takes you under a series of dark windblown conifers, resting stably on the bank, to emerge in bright daylight looking straight down the west Kyle. By now it was time to have lunch, break camp and pack up. David, Michaela, baby Angus, Steve and friends walked the whole route for the first time and seemed to quite like it. We had had a great weekend, full of laughter, stories and hard work. We cheered when we heard that Kyle had won the cup, part of the community, if only for a weekend. We look forward to returning.
Dunbar Community Woodland; East Lothian A pump track for Dunbar Dunbar Community Woodland Group has been awarded funding from Viridor Credits to build a pump track in Lochend Woods. We are working with Sustaining Dunbar, Dunbar Cycling Group and Dunbar Grammar School to build an area that can be used by local cyclists, for training and for fun. What is a pump track? A pump track is a continuous loop of berms (turns) and rollers (bumps) that mountain bikers and BMXers ride without pedalling. In just a few years, pump tracks have grown into a worldwide trend. Tracks are popping up in back gardens and public parks everywhere because: Pump tracks are fun to ride Almost anyone can ride them - from age 2 to adult Pump tracks build phenomenal skills and fitness How will it be used? The pump track will be used on an ad-hoc basis by local cyclists. It will accommodate 4-6 cyclists at a time - who will be using the track at their own risk. We expect it to appeal to people of all ages and abilities and attract new cyclists to the sport. Other pump tracks have proved very popular with young families; children as young as 2 are able to enjoy them, as well as young people and adults wishing to improve their cycling skills and general fitness. Want to help? Contact Dunbar Community Woodland Group via Isobel Knox: email@example.com Galgael Trust, Glasgow New website and online shop – just in time for Christmas! Check out the Galgael Trusts fantastic new website at www.galgael.org. A very beautiful website that provides visitors with information on the history of the Galgael Trust, details of events and news of new projects – including a great article on the Voyager Project (the Trusts biggest build). The website is well worth a visit, and while you are there, have a look at the hand crafted wood products on sale in the shop including; furniture, chopping boards, and a beautiful carved map of Scotland.
GENERAL NEWS Woodland Crofts Update Three community-based organisations are joining forces in a new push to promote and develop woodland crofts. The Community Woodlands Association, the Scottish Crofting Federation and the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust plan a number of measures over the coming months. These include the establishment of a Woodland Crofts Register of Interest, being launched today, which will be used to match up those who wish to obtain a woodland croft with those who have them to offer – or plan to develop them. The expectation is that the evidence provided by the register will help stimulate the creation of new woodland crofts. A dedicated website for woodland crofts will be launched at www.woodlandcrofts.org which will cover not just the legalities and practicalities of woodland crofts but also the philosophy – why small-scale, holistic management of woodland under crofting tenure can be an answer to many of the pressing rural problems of the 21st century. Alongside this there is a programme of three knowledge-share events, each hosted by one of the project partners and highlighting a particular woodland crofts theme, though providing general information too. The first of these events took place in Tighnabruaich on 25th October, the second in Gairloch on 22nd November, and the third took place in Dornoch on 12th December. A registration form for the Woodland Crofts Register of Interest is available for download on the website and can be returned by those wishing to be included in the register by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (Word versions), or by post to the HSCHT office in Inverness (paper copies). HSCHT is hosting the Register of Interest on behalf of the partnership. The form can also be downloaded from the news page of the CWA website.
Community Land Fund Committee Appointed Big Lottery Fund (BIG) and Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have announced the appointment of the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) Committee. The SLF Committee will be responsible for funding decisions and will also influence strategic direction. Appointed by the Scottish Government, the five person strong SLF Committee will be chaired by John Watt and is made up of George Campbell, Margaret Davidson, Derek Logie and Iain Matheson. New chair John Watt said: “Over the next three years the Scottish Land Fund aims to help communities buy land and land assets. The SLF will also give rural communities throughout Scotland the full range of tools and resources they need to deliver projects which empower local people and build community resilience. “Through SLF funding I know we can help communities to develop ideas, projects and set up organisations. I’m looking forward to working with my new colleagues to make a difference to rural communities across the length and breadth of the country.” Launched earlier this year the new £6 million Scottish Land Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by the BLF in partnership with HIE. With funding for three years the SLF hopes to support more rural communities to buy their land and other assets. The scheme aims to empower more rural communities across the breadth of Scotland by helping them acquire community assets including land to make their plans of community sustainability more achievable.
NEXT EDITION A deadline of the 18th January has been set for submitting your woodland stories / news / events. Please send your news to email@example.com for inclusion in the next newsletter, alternatively if your group produce a newsletter / member update or has a Facebook page or Twitter profile, please ensure that Ros is included in the mail distribution list and your stories will automatically be included. Stories and news included in this newsletter have either been sent to us direct, or are extracts taken from our members newsletters and websites.
CWA CONTACTS Diane Oliver and the CWA Employability Services Project:Diane works 2 days per week. Diane is the main contact for the Highlands based Social Enterprise Project. Cladach, Ardlarach Road, Ardfern, Argyll PA31 8JA Tel: 01852 310 955 | Mob: 0770 102 9819 firstname.lastname@example.org Jon Hollingdale CEO:Jon’s work hours to 4 days per week – specific days will fluctuate depending on commitments. Steading Cottage, Craigfield Farm, Kintessack, Forres, Moray IV36 2SP Tel: 01309 674004 | Mob: 0779 202 8675 email@example.com Ros Mills, Woodland Advisor:Ros works full time; she will remain the first point of contact for community woodland enquiries. Flat 4/7 Park Place, Denny, Stirlingshire FK6 6NN Tel: 01324 825695 | Mob: 0782 554 4783 firstname.lastname@example.org Caroline Derbyshire, Administrative Officer C/O Steading Cottage, Craigfield Farm, Kintessack, Forres, Moray IV36 2SP email@example.com You can also contact us through our website www.communitywoods.org our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Communitywoods or follow us on Twitter @CommunityWoods CWA Directors: Isobel Knox (Dunbar CW), Jean Barnett (Dunnet FT), Mike Steele (Nith Valley LEAF), Mark Lazzeri (North Harris Trust), Charles Dixon-Spain (Colintraive and Glendaruel DT), Chris Marsh (Sleat CT), Gordon Grey Stephens (AGWA) and Amanda Calvert (Kingussie CDC).