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

Community Monthly Update – April 2024

On Sunday 14 April, a lovely bunch of people turned out for a WSWG Guided Climate and Biodiversity Walk in Taymount Wood to celebrate the start of the new Perth & Kinross Climate Action Hub (PKCAH) for which funding has been secured from the Scottish Government.

It is part of a network of regional climate action hubs across Scotland which will support, inform, connect and empower communities to come together and engage collectively on climate action, supporting the transition to low carbon and climate resilient living through driving wider behaviour change and developing and implementing local solutions to create low carbon resilient places.

A WSWG display in our gazebo included new panels highlighting the significant positive impact the WSWG Woodland Management Plan will have for carbon sequestration and storage along with a low carbon ethos for the project as a whole. There were questions aplenty, especially from the younger WSWG supporters in our company, and obliging wildlife helped launch our spring photographic competition, again with some excellent shots taken by our younger friends.

A film crew, which the PKCAH has commissioned to produce a Climate Action Film to showcase climate action across the region, came along to film the walk and interview participants on the day which added that bit extra to the event.

And the weather and birdsong were just the perfect accompaniment for it all.

What else has WSWG been doing this month?

We enjoyed being part of the wonderful celebration event in Perth Civic Hall on 12 March to announce the community projects across Perth and Kinross which have been awarded PKC Green Living Funding, including our WizzyWARP24 Project to bring diverse groups to the woods for a range of activities and to hear how WSWG’s Wildwood Project plans for managing Taymount Wood will deliver climate, biodiversity and community benefit.    

We attended an initial meeting with the Dunkeld and Birnam community on 15 March to progress the role for WSWG in a programme of sustainability learning and sharing with the Royal School of Dunkeld this spring.

A huge thank you to the 16 or so WSWG members who helped with the C406 Community Litter-pick on 24 March, both at the Taymount Wood car park and nearby verges and along the road as a whole. Some 26 volunteers collected over 80 black bags of rubbish plus lots of unbaggable debris – down on last year’s 100+ bags (the road has been closed for repairs a fair bit this past year) but still an enormous amount for 4 miles of road – were gathered up. Thank you also to PKC for closing the road and arranging pick-up of all the rubbish on the day.

We had a fantastic field visit to Taymount Wood on 26 March by 30+ students from three different courses at SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) as part of their Multi-Purpose Woodland Management module. Like the SRUC student visit in 2023, it was a very enjoyable afternoon introducing the students to WSWG’s Woodland Management Plan for nature recovery, climate and community benefit along with much interesting discussion. Again the real scope for collaboration between SRUC and WSWG going forward for diverse student studies, dissertations and research was highlighted, a great prospect for the Life-Long Learning theme in our Window on the Woods Vision.

We have been progressing the WizzyWARP24 event which is to be part of the NHS/PKC Health and Social Care Partnership’s “Recovery May” programme for people in recovery from addiction. This promises to be a really lovely event with all sorts of taster activities for people to try out, hopefully including a pop-up Climate Café, woodland art and a birdsong walk and nature ramble.

Well spotted – a six spot ladybird, April 2024!

Many concerned walkers in the woods have alerted us to large numbers of dead toads and frogs on the main forest tracks in Taymount Wood this spring. This appears to have been vehicle casualties during the night, probably from vehicle access for deer stalking during the hours of darkness. It is particularly sad as the frogs and toads have come through the challenges of hibernation and been killed on their migration through an off-road forest to their natal wetland sites to breed, the females laden with eggs. It is all the more sad in that they migrate at night which should be safer for them. Signs have now been put up to alert drivers to the fact, which will hopefully reduce the casualty rate. WSWG would propose a ban on vehicles in the forest during amphibian migration periods as the best way of preventing this in future.

We are continuing apace with our fundraising activity. It is very disappointing, however, to have to report that we were not successful in securing Scottish Land Fund money on this occasion, but we have been invited to discuss with SLF about reapplying in May. The UK government’s Community Ownership Fund unfortunately does not cover the purchase of assets  from public bodies, which includes Forestry and Land Scotland. We are delighted, though, to report that our Expression of Interest to the Heritage Lottery Fund has been accepted, meaning we will be putting in a substantial bid for that in May. We have had to delay submitting our application to the Garfield Weston Foundation, but are pleased to know that they are still open to receiving an application from WSWG later in the year.

The Meet the Team page has been updated on the WSWG website where you can find out a bit more about the WSWG trustees, old and new and the roles they hold on the board. You can contact any of us directly by clicking the email button below our bios.

Some of our new trustees are working on improving WSWG’s Social Media presence, upping our use of Facebook, and introducing new WSWG Instagram and X (Twitter) accounts to increase and diversify the ways you can keep in touch with the WSWG Project, our events, fundraising activities and more.

WSWG Word of the Month

Dawn chorus: the symphony of birdsong heard in the early morning performed in spring by birds to attract a mate or defend a breeding territory. Birds have been busy with this for several weeks already, but April and May are great months to experience the dawn chorus in the woods or elsewhere. Use www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2024/02/identify-bird-song/  or the Merlin app on your phone to identify what species of birds you are hearing.

What’s coming up next?

Saturday 11 Maya joint woodland picnic with Tayside Woodland Partnerships in Taymount Wood from 12 to 3pm. Everybody welcome! There will be some interactive fun at the picnic site too, including a quiz, a mini treasure hunt, woodland art, species bingo and a bit of Climate Café chat. After the picnic, probably about 1pm, there will be two guided walks, one a gentle saunter, the other a longer nature walk to see how much wildlife and habitat types we can spot. Picnic site about 200m up main track from Taymount Wood car park. Event notice coming soon. Car share if you can!

Thursday 16 MayWizzyWARP24 Event as part of the Health and Social Care Partnership’s Recovery May initiative for people recovering from addiction. There will be several marquees and gazebos for shelter, sitting, chatting, eating and other woodland and climate-related activities. We are really excited about this event which will reach out to people who may not have been to our woods before.

May-June – dates tbc – WSWG is one of many groups participating in the Royal School of Dunkeld Community Programme during May and June. Plans are being put together at the moment for our community woodland fun activities with the nursery and P1 and we will keep you posted on how that goes and any other classes we might be working with. This project is funded for the Dunkeld and Birnam community by the PKC Community Investment Fund.

Volunteering opportunities at WSWG events: WSWG has such a diverse and interesting programme of events and activities scheduled for 2024 designed to benefit a wide range of people of different ages, circumstances and abilities, and so we will be looking for volunteers willing to come along on each occasion to help out in a range of ways. Please get in touch by emailing us at contact@weststormontwoodlandgroup.scot if you think that could be you.



Previous Articles

Community Monthly Update – May 2024

We are really delighted this month to start with the announcement that the winner of the WSWG April Photography Competition in the Children’s category is Dougie from Highland Perthshire. His stunning and clever photograph was taken at the head of Loch Rannoch, looking west, on Saturday 20 April. Such a beautiful, calm scene in our precious Perthshire countryside, but just look at the perfect capture of the beautiful splash effect at its heart. A truly super photo.

Congratulations, Dougie. Thank you very much for taking part in this competition and your well-deserved prize will be making its way to you very soon.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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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