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 – March 2024

It is a disappointing thing to have to do, but a surprisingly rewarding thing to have done. We are talking about picking up someone else’s litter. We all know Taymount Wood car park occasionally suffers from fly tipping, but it is regular littering which is more of a chronic problem, clogging the ditches, being strewn around the verges, blown into the brambles and nettles, overgrown by rank grass, buried in the soil, or crushed by vehicles if not removed regularly.

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Community Monthly Update – February 2024

First up this month, a big thank you to the Community Payback Team from Westbank in Perth who very kindly made an impromptu stop when passing to remove the worst of some fly tipping they spotted in the Taymount Wood car park in January. A heap of black bin-bags full of spent growing medium and general rubbish had been dumped near the entrance gate a few days earlier. They were unable to clear it all up in one go but are going to come back to complete the task for us. Moreover, they have offered to keep a watching eye on the site in future and clear up what they can. That will be such a help.

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Community Monthly Update – January 2024

Unusually, we’re starting this Monthly Update with a “What’s Coming Up Next” item! This message is principally for people in the Stanley and District community but we’d love to suggest all villages in the West Stormont area follow suit with their own aim of becoming a Biodiversity Village.

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Community Monthly Update – December 2023

It’s another year end and this time WSWG member Françoise from Stanley has created an exquisite 2024 calendar of “Wildflowers and Friends” she photographed in Taymount Wood this year to help raise funds for WSWG. Having gone for a print run of 50, these gorgeous calendars are available on a first-come, first-served basis for a donation of £10 (or a bit more if you wish!) with net proceeds going towards the purchase of the woods.

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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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