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 – December 2021

Whew! We are relieved to say that, apart from general debris, both woods seem to have come off relatively lightly in Storm Arwen compared to many forests across Scotland.

Windblown conifers blocking the main track into Taymount Wood from the car park.

What has WSWG been doing this month?

  • Several WSWG members who live beside the woods very kindly sent us reports after the storm which we forwarded to Forestry and Land Scotland. Access into the woods from the Taymount Wood car park was completely blocked by 6 or 7 large conifer trees which had blown down across the track, and a neighbour’s new fence was ripped up by the root plates of some old Scots pines which have now sadly come to the end of their beautiful standing life. A smaller conifer blew down across the main circular track in Five Mile Wood. Things could have been a lot worse.
  • We received an unexpectedly generous award as a chosen recipient of community benefit funding from the Littleton Burn Hydro Project near Dalguise. Huge thanks to Energy4All and Highland Community Energy Society for this extremely welcome donation to our project.
  • We’ve been planning for the WSWG winter events programme. See below for details of the first of those, coming soon to a wood near you! Watch this space to get involved in tree planting later in the winter.
  • The Shadow Board continues its good progress with pulling together the forestry management and community benefit we’d like to see in the final CATS Proposal and Business Plan. In particular, we have developed interesting plans for our forest food project and the various community facilities and enterprises creating the WSWG forest hub. More details on these and other ventures in both woods in due course. We are aiming to submit the CATS Application in April/May and so intend to consult WSWG members on these updated, costed plans before then.
  • Margaret Lear contributed an article on her discovery of the rare Scarlet Berry fungus in Five Mile Wood to the Community Woodlands Association for their next Newsletter.
How about this for a stunning mossy, lichen covered tree trunk in Taymount Wood?

Word of the Month

Solstice: the time or date (twice each year) at which the sun reaches its maximum or minimum declination, marked by the longest and shortest days (around 21 June and 22 December). Solstice is of Latin derivation: sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) – referring to when the seasonal movement of the Sun’s daily path (as seen from Earth) pauses at a southern or northern limit before reversing direction. This year, for us in the UK, the winter solstice is on Tuesday 21st December, the shortest day and longest night of the year, after which the days will start getting longer again. Different cultures celebrate the solstices in different ways. This year we’re going to mark it the WSWG way! For how, see What’s coming up next? below!

Book of the Month

“Forestry Flavours of the Month: The Changing Face of World Forestry” by Alastair Fraser. Alastair is a WSWG member and on the Shadow Board where he is a fount of knowledge and expertise for the WSWG project. This book is an accessible combination of policy analysis and reminiscences from a half-century-long forestry career. A graduate of Aberdeen University, Alastair worked as a silviculturalist in the Forestry Commission Research Branch in the UK for 12 years before receiving a PhD from Edinburgh University researching forest microclimate. He became a forest management consultant for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and in 1973 set up an international forest consultancy, IFSC, now LTS International based in Edinburgh. This gave him a long and fascinating global career working for World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other multinational agencies and governments, as a consultant on forest management, economics, policy, energy and carbon sequestration, agroforestry and wood industry in about 40 countries. Alastair retired from LTS in 2001 but continued as an independent consultant, mainly in the Far East until 2015. He has published three books, of which this is the second.   
This link will take you to the Kirkus book review: Forestry Flavours of the Month | Kirkus Reviews
If any WSWG member would like a copy at author’s prices, signed or otherwise, please email Alastair directly on alastairfraser@btinternet.com . (Hardback £10, paperback £7.)

What’s coming up next?

  • We’re going to have a go at carol singing in Taymount Wood to celebrate the winter solstice – weather and covid permitting, of course. Tuesday 21 December, 6-7pm. To make it a Winter Warmer too, wrap up well, bring a torch (no naked flames) and a flask of soup or a warm drink if you wish. WSWG will provide the song sheets! Meet us just a few metres up from the car park from 5.45pm.
  • Christmas and the festive season! Have a brilliant one!
Join us and the trees to sing in the solstice



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!

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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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