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

“THE WET SIDE OF THE WOOD” by Margaret Lear

Five Mile Wood right now is a wood half-forested, half scrub and heath. When the Forestry Commission took out the last tree crop, they left a fragile fringe, largely of Scots Pine, around the north-east side of the circular path that now forms almost the only access to the main part of the wood. The Benchil burn trickles through and under the path here, on its way to the Tay, and water from the high water table of the central area percolates into a series of path- side ditches and curious water-holes made by a forestry digger. This is the wet side of the wood. While the trees must take up a lot of water, their canopy also prevents evaporation, and after recent heavy rain, the glades and ditches are alive with summer flowers and butterflies.
West Stormont Woodland Group

Heath Bedstraw and Tormentil are strewn along the path edges like yellow and white confetti, and Red Clover flourishes heroically on the banks. Meadow Vetchling and Bird’s Foot Trefoil are visited by brown, white and blue butterflies, who pause and spread themselves out infrequently on warm stones and bark shreds on the path.

Bright Hawkweeds grow tall and enthusiastic, stretching for the dappled sun that today is scorching whenever the clouds part. In the cooler shade, sweet-scented Valerian grows. It prefers a damp habitat, and its white to pinkish flowers are nectar-rich, a magnet for more butterflies. This plant is widely used in herbal medicine, its roots being a soporific. Common Orchids and Viper’s Bugloss unusually share a habitat. Here and there are thistles, always a good bee-flower, and today a relative newcomer to central Scotland, the Tree Bumble Bee (Bombus hypnorum) is engrossed with nectar collection.

The true nature of this tract of land gives itself away in the damp bases of ditches and where vague deer tracks can be followed a short way into the springy sphagnum. It is part of a network of raised bog, myre or moss that probably once were joined. King’s Myre in Taymount Wood is another remnant. Damselflies hover over the multicoloured Water Forget-Me-Nots in conjoined pairs.

The Lesser Spearwort dazzles from many a watery ditch and aptly-named Ragged Robin, dances its frilly pink skirts by the burn. Acid-loving and ubiquitous Tormentil abounds, and Bell Heather is in flower already – another treat for insects.We humans are such visual creatures, and it’s the flowers that draw us and grab our attention. But

flowers are the tip of the ecological iceberg of the wet side of the wood. Ferns, grasses, unidentified rushes and reeds are the matrix of this habitat, while unnoticed and unobtrusive, the sphagnum mosses proliferate, and go on with their work of creating peat, holding onto water – and capturing carbon.

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Previous Articles

Community Monthly Update – March 2024

It is a disappointing thing to have to do, but a surprisingly rewarding thing to have done. We are talking about picking up someone else’s litter. We all know Taymount Wood car park occasionally suffers from fly tipping, but it is regular littering which is more of a chronic problem, clogging the ditches, being strewn around the verges, blown into the brambles and nettles, overgrown by rank grass, buried in the soil, or crushed by vehicles if not removed regularly.

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Community Monthly Update – February 2024

First up this month, a big thank you to the Community Payback Team from Westbank in Perth who very kindly made an impromptu stop when passing to remove the worst of some fly tipping they spotted in the Taymount Wood car park in January. A heap of black bin-bags full of spent growing medium and general rubbish had been dumped near the entrance gate a few days earlier. They were unable to clear it all up in one go but are going to come back to complete the task for us. Moreover, they have offered to keep a watching eye on the site in future and clear up what they can. That will be such a help.

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Community Monthly Update – January 2024

Unusually, we’re starting this Monthly Update with a “What’s Coming Up Next” item! This message is principally for people in the Stanley and District community but we’d love to suggest all villages in the West Stormont area follow suit with their own aim of becoming a Biodiversity Village.

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Community Monthly Update – December 2023

It’s another year end and this time WSWG member Françoise from Stanley has created an exquisite 2024 calendar of “Wildflowers and Friends” she photographed in Taymount Wood this year to help raise funds for WSWG. Having gone for a print run of 50, these gorgeous calendars are available on a first-come, first-served basis for a donation of £10 (or a bit more if you wish!) with net proceeds going towards the purchase of the woods.

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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

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