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

Foraging Sustainably

…sated with flowers, I drifted back to the path, casting hopeful glances into the mossy ditches and banks beside the track. It was June, early for the summer edible mushrooms, but not too early to look…..

Little Pictures, Big Pictures

Wandering into Five Mile Wood last week, I was considering what might turn out to be the wood’s gift this month when I got distracted by a long-ago fallen log. Or rather, the holes in it.

To Taymount Woods, the Long Way Round

West Stormont Woodland Group

We met up at the Taymount Wood car park, Linda and I, put on our boots and turned away, not into the gate. This was to be the long road to the woods, a circular walk via the disused railway line which once ran as a ponderous branch from Stanley across the River Tay to Coupar Angus.

Give me Shelter!

West Stormont Woodland Group

A recent walk to Five Mile Wood on a blisteringly cold and windy March day forced an awareness of how open it is – and that gave me this month’s challenge right away. Part of the means of rising to the challenge may come from the gift!

Whose Woods Are These? I think I know…*

West Stormont Woodland Group

This is the first in a new series of posts for West Stormont Woodland Group. From fear or repeating myself, I thought I’d write about the fact that each month, the woods have a Gift for us. And every month, there is at least one challenge that faces us – whether physical, philosophical or organisational – in contemplation of owning woodland as a community.

“Little Acorns, Great Oaks” by Margaret Lear

West Stormont Woodland Group

It’s a bit like walking on ball bearings in some woods this year. They slide away under your feet and you slide with them, temporarily on arboricultural ice, until crack-crack-crunch, and you’ve squashed them. The little oak-trees-in- waiting. Acorns. Acorns galore. 2020 is what’s called a “mast year”, when all the oak trees seem to produce more acorns than it is possible for the squirrels, mice, jays and other nut-inclined creatures to harvest or store.

“Last Leaves Falling” by Margaret Lear

West Stormont Woodland Group

I pause on my way through the woods, quietening my breathing, keeping as still as I can. There is no sound, there is no wind. There should be no movement. Yet within the vascular systems of the broadleaved trees that bound the track, small enzyme changes are at work, invisible changes that lead to letting go, abscission, leaf-fall.

“Exits, Entrances and Crossroads” by Margaret Lear

West Stormont Woodland Group

Is there an artist in the wood?
There is, really, only one easy way into and out of Five Mile Wood – at least in October. That’s from the south end on the Stanley to New Mill cottages road – currently a bit of a no man’s land thanks to the dualling of the A9. Here the track is clear, broad, made for forestry vehicles – and you can even park! At the north end, there is also the old straight track I’ve written about before, from South Barns and beyond that, with a diversion to Bankfoot. Follow the line of this track and it will take you to Dunkeld, once a mighty ecclesiastical seat. I learned last week that from Dunkeld to the wood it’s five miles – hence the name.

“What We Choose to Eat from the Woods” by Margaret Lear

West Stormont Woodland Group

As soon as I entered Taymount Wood, I smelt mushrooms. Across in the pattering shade of the woods to my left, a family was ducking and diving and exclaiming across the ditches to each other. I could glimpse baskets, a small dog, a child or two. Great! I thought, people foraging. Good luck! With chanterelles from a previous forage in my fridge, I just wanted to walk without expectations or intent. Looking for late summer flowers, I was taken by the large numbers of Wild Angelica growing either side of the path.