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 – February 2023

This past month we have been taking stock of the amazing future we have envisaged for ourselves when the woods are in community ownership. The WSWG Proposal is a truly exciting opportunity for neighbouring communities around the woods to join together in meaningful action for nature and the environment in a way which directly delivers community benefit to suit diverse interests, abilities and needs.

Winter sun in Taymount Wood glinting off King’s Myre Loch

What has WSWG been doing this month?

The WSWG Proposal is a visionary, courageous and change-making plan put together purposefully to address the reality that the scale of action we need and deserve in transitioning to a sustainable and resilient future needs to start being commensurate with the scale of the social, ecological and climate challenges now so familiar to us all. The Scottish Government has signed Scotland up to working towards a Wellbeing Economy as something which works better for people and planet and the WSWG project intends to be part of that shift by:

  • using the fortuitously (largely) native species composition (Scots pine and birch) to repurpose the woods with nature recovery and community benefit as their primary function
  • improving access and using the woods to deliver community-led programmes for health and wellbeing, culture and creativity, life-long learning, community enterprise and more
  • diversifying income streams through increasing “Living Forest” products and relying less on timber sales
  • allowing the woods to grow old naturally so they can achieve their full ecological potential
  • providing green jobs and supporting existing local businesses and service providers.
Soft mossy carpet in Taymount Wood – January 2023

On 26 January, WSWG Trustees met with representatives of the CATS Panel and FLS as a first step in the evaluation and negotiation process ahead, initially in each of the woods and then at Kinclaven Church Hall. It would have been beneficial to have more time for the site visits, but we feel we were well able to convey the vision and justification for the WSWG Proposal. 

Having got to where we are in the WSWG development phase, active networking to further validate the project and build rigour into its future management continues apace. This included a very interesting and useful meeting in January with Mike Robinson of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society to present WSWG as a prospective stakeholder in the initiative for Perth to become the most sustainable small city in Europe by 2050. We are also talking with a range of existing and new contacts who might be able to assist during this next critical phase. WSWG is also contributing to the Stanley Community Action Plan process as part of a Rural Focus Group.

Gorse and scrub clearance has more or less been completed by FLS at both Five Mile and Taymount Woods, which has opened up the core paths for access again, for which many thanks to FLS and the contractor. As the vegetation had grown vigorously over the past few years, beware of short gorse and birch stumps as a trip hazard, mostly on the verges but in some cases on the tracks themselves. There is also a lot of debris blanketing the verges which will rot down in time, but will be a problem for recovery of the amazing communities of wildflowers associated with the path networks in both woods. The thick mulch will both smother the currently dormant plants and also over-enrich the nutrient status of the soil which will favour the growth of dominant grasses over the more delicate wildflowers. We have begun speaking to FLS to see if anything can be done to mitigate this, but we also hope to find ways in selected areas for WSWG volunteers to help in our wildflower rescue mission over the next few weeks.

Before: core path in Taymount Wood – January 2023
After: same section of core path in Taymount Wood – February 2023

Sadly, both Five Mile Wood and Taymount Wood car parks have suffered badly from littering this winter. On one occasion in January, five bin bags were filled from the Taymount Wood entrance, and it is already needing cleaned up again. It would be good to get a small group together to clear up the current mess at Five Mile Wood too. Interestingly in both woods, there is rarely much of a problem beyond the gates, just in the car park and adjacent ditches. A problem which we aim to resolve properly when the woods are in community ownership!

An upturned bag-load of rubbish degrading in a ditch at the Taymount Wood entrance

Word of the Month

Living Forest products: Plantation woodlands are planted with the purpose of harvesting them for timber. This usually means cutting them down at around 50 years old, which is a teenager in tree terms. Living Forest products are those which can be harvested without killing the trees, such as fruit, nuts, birch sap, plus honey, venison and other forest food products, payments for biodiversity gain and carbon sequestration, bequeathing and tree sponsorship for forest existence, and other creative outputs.

What’s coming up next?

  • We will be rolling out our 2023 events programme soon so watch this space if you’d like to get involved. Our wildflower rescue mission will be one of the key activities.
  • Ongoing CATS evaluation and negotiation process
  • Putting together our Wildwood Steering Group to build management capacity and provide meaningful community involvement and influence in the future governance and operation of the WSWG 2-tier SCIO
  • Fundraising for acquisition and operational start-up



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.

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.

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.

Read More »