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

Meet the Team

Murray Gauld

Chair and Ecologist

West Stormont Woodland Group - Meet the Team

Murray graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology in 2017. He has worked in Ecological consultancy for 11 years, with a focus on protected species and Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW). He frequently works on forestry operations and woodland creation sites. He has a keen interest in rewilding and nature recovery.

Murray has regularly volunteered for the last 14 years, being a committee member of two kayak clubs over a number of years and teaching people how to kayak throughout his time at university. He is part of a small team that organises a yearly whitewater kayaking event for around 200 people. He has also volunteered at the accessibility campsite at Glastonbury Festival since 2015. Murray has also spent 6 weeks volunteering at the Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve, carrying out maintenance work as well as monitoring the wildlife on the reserve.

Hannah Esdaile

Vice Chair

West Stormont Woodland Group - Meet the Team

Coming from a legal background, Hannah focussed her undergraduate law dissertation on the Community Right to Buy and has become increasingly passionate about the issue since.

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh she relocated from Glasgow to Perth to take a job at a firm with considerable experience in rural work and is now also undertaking the MSc in Sustainable Rural Development with UHI.

With her legal background and continuing study in rural sustainability as well as her personal passion and support for community land ownership with a particular focus on climate action, Hannah is well placed to offer insight on policy and practical issues in taking the project forward.

Elspeth Coutts

Secretary / Membership Secretary

West Stormont Woodland Group

Elspeth graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture and has worked in the Scottish land and environmental sector for 40 years, including agriculture, countryside development, golf environment and home energy. She also has City & Guilds qualifications in Home Energy and Micro-renewables.

She has held posts in SAC (now SRUC), Edinburgh Green Belt Trust, IIED, Scottish Golf Environment Group, worked for a climate challenge home energy project and been self-employed since 2007. She has volunteered in diverse community and environmental initiatives in Lothian, Scottish Borders and Perthshire since 1990 but believes transition to a sustainable future has to be founded on green livelihoods.

She is passionate about local action at landscape scale as an urgent response to the climate and ecological emergencies we are in. She always looks for wider references and initiatives into which local efforts can connect. She is a wholehearted proponent of Doughnut Economics, Good Ancestor philosophy and transition to a Wellbeing Economy. 

Shonagh Moore


West Stormont Woodland Group

Shonagh graduated with a BA Hons degree in Visual Communications (Graphics). She has taken on various positions that have utilised her design abilities from working for a studio in Birmingham on prestigious accounts to various design and marketing projects to date.

She has taken several management positions which included retail and buying for over 10 years before moving to Scotland and is currently the Centre Operations Administrator for PGL Travel Ltd at Dalguise. In addition, for the past thirty years she has been on the Board of Trustees for another registered Charity and has been one of their course organisers as well as being their newsletter and website editor.

Shonagh has always had a close connection and respect for the environment and joined WSWG because she recognised the importance and value of what was being strived for and felt that her skills could help to present the narrative.

Peter Hemmings


West Stormont Woodland Group - Meet the Team

Peter completed a 4-year Agricultural Diploma course after which he did 7 years of farming and then agricultural research for 12 years.

A change of career took Peter into Mental Health Advocacy work for 12 years. This was then followed by a Horticultural qualification and 12 years of self-employed gardening.

A lifetime of passion for the countryside and a caring thoughtful attitude in caring for nature has been a huge driver for Peter and remains a major concern for him.