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 – 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.

Emergence points of mining bees from underground burrows in Taymount Wood May 2023

What has WSWG been doing this month?

On 13 and 14 May, WSWG held a “Woodland Pick and Mix” Event at Taymount Wood which attracted a small and enthusiastic group of volunteers each day. We pitched the gazebo in the woods near the main entrance as our rest point and undertook a range of activities nearby. Using plastic-free tubes and reusing old plastic tubes, we protected naturally regenerating rowan, oak, a few holly and several previously planted bird cherry saplings from deer browsing. In addition, we planted oak saplings grown on from acorns by WSWG members in winter 2020-21, also protecting them from deer and vole damage with tree tubes. Courtesy of the local community’s PKC-funded C406 Verges for Wildflowers not Litter project, we planted native wildflower plugs and sowed wildflower seeds along the woodland edge. There was also time for some more raking of gorse mulch to prevent it suppressing the wildflowers along the track verges and to further clear the track surfaces for walkers. (Btw, we’d love to know who it was who left their oak saplings for us at the entrance gate! If it was you, thank you and we’d love to know who you are! Your little oaks are now in the ground hopefully to become big oaks in the fullness of time!)

Protecting natural regeneration in Taymount Wood with recycled tree tubes
Protecting natural regeneration using plastic free tubes
Christopher Dingwall taking notes during the recce in Five Mile Wood

On 17 May, we did a recce of Taymount and Five Mile Woods with historian, Christopher Dingwall, in preparation for his talk and walk on the history of the woods being organised as a joint event between West Stormont Historical Society and WSWG in September. At both woods we also saw the pleasing results of our gorse raking activities with widespread dog violets and other wildflower species along the verges and little excavation piles signposting where mining bees had exited their winter burrows. In Five Mile Wood, we added a new species to the WSWG butterfly list – three speckled wood butterflies – and then saw more of them in Taymount Wood a week later. That makes 15 butterfly species altogether.

Speckled wood butterfly sunning in Five Mile Wood 17 May

We also saw our first common lizard in Taymount Wood this month basking on a sunny banking, then scuttling away into the nearby cover of thick grassy vegetation when it saw us. (Sorry – no photo despite best attempt!) Its relatively small size (about 6-7cm long) suggested a juvenile, perhaps from 2022. It was also very dark in colour, almost black. Very young lizards are usually dark, but would typically have become lighter, brighter and more patterned by this age. At this lizard’s age, this dark (melanistic) colouration could indicate an adaptation to living in more shaded woodland habitat, with dark body colour absorbing heat better. Common lizards are protected but sadly yet another native species in decline. This discovery was therefore very exciting as, up to now, WSWG has thought of it as an absent species we could perhaps introduce in the future along suitably sun-warmed, derelict old dykelines. So what is needed now is for our focus to switch to protecting, enhancing and monitoring its existing habitat and population.

On 24 May, three WSWG trustees attended a Funding Roadshow in Coupar Angus organised through the Perth and Kinross Community Planning Partnership at which we met with the Gannochy Trust and also with the Third Sector Interface who are very kindly helping WSWG with various aspects of the CATS process.

In addition to their recent much appreciated annual donation, WSWG received a further very generous community benefit payment from the Highland Community Energy Society’s Littleton Burn Hydro Project at Dalguise. A huge thank you to them for their ongoing support of the WSWG Project.

Good progress has also been made with our CATS Application at a very useful meeting with Forestry and Land Scotland and Scottish Forestry on 30 May setting out the final stages ahead.

On 9 and 10 June, WSWG had a stall at the Community Futures Open Days in Stanley Village Hall as part of the Stanley Community Action Plan consultation process. It was a great opportunity to catch up with many WSWG members and speak to others about the WSWG Project and the West Stormont Connect concept. At the table next to us was Cath Lloyd of the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership, who, amongst other things, was there to promote the idea of Stanley becoming a Biodiversity Village. This idea was well received, with a good number of people` keen to get involved, and so the next step will be to get the ball rolling with a mapping exercise of the village and surrounding area. We’ll keep you posted on this.

On 11 June, WSWG had a stall at the Logiealmond Plant Sale at Chapelhill Community Centre. It was lovely to be able to catch up with WSWG members from the area and to have an in-person opportunity to tell more people in the Glen about the WSWG Project and how they can get involved.

Word of the Month

Speckled wood: As the name suggests, this mottled brown and cream butterfly is perfectly camouflaged in dappled sunlit woodlands, where it vigorously chases off any competition for its territory. Various grass species make up the caterpillars’ food plant. The adults feed heavily on aphid honeydew in the tree canopy, choosing wildflowers only in early and late season when aphid populations are low. The speckled wood butterfly has been expanding its range over recent years with warming temperatures.

What’s coming up next?

  • Saturday 22 July 12 noon: WSWG hosting a Picnic in Taymount Wood with Tayside Woodland Partnerships. More details to follow if you’d like to come along.
  • Monday 25 September 7.30pm Stanley Village Hall: talk by renowned landscape historian, Christopher Dingwall, on the history of Taymount and Five Mile Woods; Wednesday 27 September 11am: guided walk in Taymount Wood with Christopher and WSWG.
  • We will hopefully be organising more events in the woods over the summer holidays, so watch this space.



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 – May 2023

This month has truly shown us the wide and widening reach and appeal of the WSWG Project to bring Taymount and Five Mile Woods into community ownership. We have carried out volunteer action for nature and walkers in both woods, engaged with the Highland and Strathtay Stronger Communities Network, participated in an Earth Day event staged by Perth and Kinross Council’s Climate Change and Sustainable Development Team, hosted a student visit from SRUC Edinburgh and Aberdeen and received a further annual donation from the Community Fund of a local community hydro scheme. Read on to find out a bit more about these and other WSWG activities of late.

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