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

In the Company of Giants

The rusty orange coat of a fox is illuminated in the early morning dappled sunlight. Body primed in eager anticipation, as its acute hearing detects some unseen rodent under the vegetation. A few metres away amongst the fallen dead branches and leaves, the black un-blinking eye of a woodcock watches its every move, poised to escape at the last second from the nest where she is incubating 4 eggs. Her mottled plumage so perfectly in harmony with her surroundings, she is almost invisible even to this supreme hunter.

Suddenly the fox’s unfailing senses detect a walker approaching – soft footed, along a fallen tree. The fox slips effortlessly into the dense undergrowth, as the walker realises the futility of his intent.

The black motionless eye betrays nothing of the fear and panic swelling up within the woodcock’s body, as the man continues his approach. At two metres distance from her, he pauses in response to a pair of blue tits above him loudly protesting his intrusion. Their 6 chicks listen intently from the safety of the nest within an old woodpecker-excavated nest hole in the standing dead Noble fir tree nearby.

Faint Calls from Beneath

As the man graciously yields to the growing protests of the blue tits and attempts to descend from the fallen tree, his eyes rake the ground for hidden hazards – bramble thorn or protruding branch, such is the way with barefoot walkers. Suddenly his eyes connect with the black eye of the woodcock, now a mere step away. He freezes in a mix of surprise and wonderment, before cautiously retreating in an attempt to pacify her. Audible only to she who sits defiantly are the faint calls of her 4 chicks that are now hours away from hatching beneath her.

The man gently eases away to continue his assessment of this secluded woodland section that she has chosen to nest in. A small island of Noble firs in the south-west of Taymount Wood. These majestic fir trees, around 70 years old (still young in tree terms), cover a mere 3% of the woodland, yet their large and prolific seeds may provide up to 20% of available calories for red squirrels and wintering birds. As a species, the Noble firs also sequester more carbon than any other tree species in the wood and are visually striking in the forest landscape. In recent insect surveys they were also found to support substantially higher numbers and species counts of insects per square metre of foliage than other conifers and even outperformed birch by 3 to 1. They also fostered rare and spectacular fungi species. Overall, the Noble fir punches far above its weight in the fight against the climate & ecological crisis.

In the Shadow of the Axe

These Noble firs and hundreds like them across the site are now threatened with felling. They were protected under the original WSWG woodland plan in the Draft WSWG Proposal approved by the community in the WSWG Community Consultation 2021. The updated version of that original plan still protects them for all the reasons explained above, as well as “living forest” revenue including carbon sequestration, tree sponsorships and biodiversity payments etc – potentially up to 3x more than felling them for timber.

However, new members within the group have since 2021 brought a wider perspective which may reflect the view of the wider community. As such, an alternative, more timber-focused woodland plan has been produced which will see almost all of these trees felled over the next 10 years. These two plans have differing priorities and agendas. You, as a WSWG member or a local resident, will soon have the chance to decide the fate of these trees by choosing which plan you prefer, and influence the way we will look after the woods in the future.



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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