West Stormont Woodland Group

West Stormont
Woodland Group

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) SC051682

Join us today to bring Taymount Wood and Five Mile Wood into community ownership

“A February Morning at Five Mile Wood”

Dreich doesn’t begin to cover it. Weeks of rain, sleet or snow, and the wood is wet, dank, chilly. One storm has passed, another is forecast, and a group of multi-stemmed birches, green with lichen and algae, droop and wait despondently.
West Stormont Woodland Group

I take the rutted cycling path that skirts the woodland edge. Under the tall, fiendishly straight Scots Pines, many scattered beech saplings nestle in their winter boleros of retained leaves. Beech mast is everywhere, but I do not see the older tree from which it has fallen. Beech seedlings tend not to come up near a parent tree, but somewhere there must be a Mother.

Snow lingers crystalline along the clay-bottomed ditches where black, cold water lurks and trickles. There’s a pond under the pines which so looks like it was formed by an explosion I call it the bomb crater. No signs of frog spawn yet. Several tracks and paths meander where animals come down to drink. Duckweed covers a third of the surface; in the increasing rain thousands of ripples intersect and make diffraction patterns over the other two thirds.

Birds – except for a robin – are silent and glum. A flock of pigeons clatters off towards the field; freshly ploughed, it offers them nothing but the stones that lie heaped in the field corner. How many decades or centuries of cultivation have contributed to this pile? This side of the fence, someone a long time ago arranged stones round a favourite tree, where they remain, moss- covered and half-buried. Larger rocks with wavy patterns etched onto their surface erupt in groups from the forest floor, scarcely distinguishable from the stumps of felled trees. Moss, lichens, algae democratically envelop all.

There are charred-looking remains of mushrooms by the path. I think they were Blackening Russulas, an abundance of them. I follow their orbital trail and suddenly find myself under a towering old beech tree, with many spreading branches and a hollowing trunk that makes a chimney of dead wood and fungal rots.

Swings hang from two branches; insects and other invertebrates burrow into the soft core of the tree and make their homes. The woodpecker will soon come calling for her dinner, other birds will nest and shout from the canopy. I have found the Mother of Beeches, and of much else besides.



Previous Articles

Community Monthly Update – November 2023

We are really thrilled to let you know that Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has approved WSWG’s Revised Wildwood Proposal and Business Plan for Taymount Wood. This is the first big goal achieved in our Community Asset Transfer Process to bring Taymount and Five Mile Woods into community ownership!

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Community Monthly Update – October 2023

A highlight for the WSWG Project this month has been the timely teaming up of a group of employees from Aviva in Perth with some unexpectedly lovely autumn weather for a day of corporate volunteering. On 2 October, five enthusiastic Aviva colleagues spent the day with WSWG in the middle of Taymount Wood on a range of interesting and very useful tasks, quite a contrast to their usual office based working environment.

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Community Monthly Update – September 2023

Given the distinctly seasonal change in the weather of late, we thought we would bring our Word of the Month up to the top of our September update. Psithurism: (Noun) The sound of wind in the trees and rustling of leaves, from “psithuros”, the Greek word for whispering. Enjoy your woods this autumn!

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Community Monthly Update – August 2023

This month we really want to share with you a wonderful event we had – the joint woodland picnic on 22 July with Tayside Woodland Partnerships (TWP). We pitched our gazebos in a lovely grassy glade in Taymount Wood and set out a delicious picnic spread courtesy of Alison’s Kitchen in Blairgowrie – quiches, sausage rolls and cakes galore – on portable tables kindly lent to us by Stanley Village Hall. More food and home-baking was brought by the picnickers themselves. Despite weather forecasts to the contrary, it was a beautiful day with not a drop of rain or drizzle. After lots of great chat and good food, we heard a little about each of our organisations’ respective projects and then took a walk up the main track to King’s Myre Loch.

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Community Monthly Update – July 2023

First up this month is for us to say a big thank you to a lovely group of young people from Ochil Tower School in Auchterarder who had come on a mini-bus trip to visit Taymount Wood on 21 June … and just did a litter-pick whilst they were there!! What a great example of being good citizens – enjoying the environment and taking care of it together.

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Community Monthly Update – June 2023

We want to start with a big thank you to all WSWG volunteers who helped in the Wildflower and Mining Bee Rescue Mission this spring. Many times more wildflowers have come through along the various stretches of raked verge than would have been the case had they remained swamped by gorse mulch and, as seen in the photo here, mining bees have successfully emerged where the track surfaces were cleared to help them out too. And of course the cleared sections of track make for more comfortable going again for walkers and dogs. Lots more areas still need attention, and we will keep doing what we can when we can, but thank you again to everyone who helped make a difference for nature this spring.

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