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 – 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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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.

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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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