What has WSWG been doing this month?
A phased approach. Here’s the big update for September 2023. As you all know, our shared goal is to bring both Taymount Wood and Five Mile Wood into community ownership to which we are thoroughly committed. Shortly after we submitted our CATS Application for both woods in December 2022, a revaluation of the woods saw an increase of £800,000 (33%), raising the combined asking price from £2.4 million to £3.2 million. During 2023, we have been in discussions with current owners, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), to decide the best way forward. Given the enormity of the funding challenge and FLS concerns about us taking on two woods in one go, WSWG has agreed to adopt a phased approach to acquisition. We will therefore be seeking to purchase Taymount Wood first, with an option to buy Five Mile Wood within the following five years. Taymount Wood is valued at £1.85 million. This will allow us to secure Taymount Wood and initiate rapid nature recovery and community benefits there, whilst at the same time raising the funding required to purchase Five Mile Wood. Although the smaller operational scale will mean a smaller staffed programme in the early years, and more likely one or two rather than the six themed Community Working Groups proposed in the diagram below, WSWG still intends to run some of our community activities in Five Mile Wood, as now. We will be submitting our revised Proposal to FLS at the end of September and will hear by the end of October whether we will be invited to put in an offer for Taymount Wood in 2024.
The Wildwood Steering Group will form a key part of the way the WSWG Project is managed going forward. It will function as an advisory and support network for the WSWG Board of Trustees and be an important means of community involvement at the heart of the WSWG Project. This month, we have been liaising with Growbiz who have offered to provide WSWG with access to its own Cloudroom. This is an online organisational tool which provides a range of communications options including noticeboard, chat room, document/image sharing, 2 way face-to-face meetings, etc. Growbiz has very kindly offered this service to WSWG at no cost and will provide WSWG with some basic training in October on how to use the system. As an easy, safe, secure, private, on-line space, accessible on any device, we think this will be an ideal means of convening the Wildwood Steering Group. If it works well, this arrangement will provide a valuable Case Study for Growbiz. We will soon be looking for more people to join the Wildwood Group to bring on board the diverse range of skills we need to help guide and creatively support the themes and management needs of the WSWG Project. Could that be you?
Over the summer, we have been working closely with the P&K Health & Social Care Partnership to further develop the detail and means of evaluating the potential community benefit impact of WSWG’s Healthy Living Programme in future. As a means of demonstrating the type of activity which will become regular once the woods are in community ownership and to assess the associated community benefit which will accrue, we are collaborating on a programme of events throughout 2024 involving a diverse range of local wellbeing organisations. A stage on from the wonderful programme of taster events WSWG ran for our local community in Taymount and Five Mile Wood pre covid, called “Feeling Good in the Woods”, the 2024 programme will focus on actively including more people living with significant challenges or disadvantage.
What’s coming up next?
Monday 25 September 7.30pm Stanley Village Hall: talk by Christopher Dingwall on the history of Taymount & Five Mile Woods; free entry for WSWG and WSHS members; £4 for visitors; Wednesday 27 September 10.30am: guided walk in Taymount Wood with Christopher and WSWG; free of charge for all. For more info please see our events page.
The TBP Mini Bioblitz has been extended to 15 October. Stanley, Luncarty and Dunkeld & Birnam are amongst the participating villages – find full list here – Biodiversity Village Communities Mini Bioblitz · iNaturalist. Sign up to iNaturalist here https://uk.inaturalist.org/signup to be able to record your sightings.
We are planning some more gorse mulch raking sessions in Taymount and/or Five Mile Wood – dates tbc soon.
Advance notice of the WSWG AGM: 7pm Tuesday 28 November 2023 in Stanley Village Hall.