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

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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 – 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.

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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.

Read More »

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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