Community Woodland Larch Removal News

SPHN – Larch removal, Path between Gillies Hill Entrance and Walled Garden

The purpose of this communication is to update you on the situation with the path between the Gillies Hill sheds entrance and the Walled Garden.

From a public safety necessity, and also as the path will become increasingly unusable, the path between the Gillies Hill sheds entrance and the walled garden has now been completely closed to the public.

It has been noted by many that there was a considerable build-up of silt, mud and mucky water particularly at the location of the burn that crosses the path.

At the end of last week, the burn was dammed by the felling contractor, RTS with silt-trap netting and some straw bales in an effort to reduce silt run-off entering the burn downstream. Although the motivation behind this action was to minimise pollution of the burn, it resulted in blocking the watercourse.

The Harvesting Director from RTS attended the site on Monday morning and accepted that the work undertaken and the consequent damming of the burn was not acceptable on environmental grounds.

He also raised significant concern for the safety of the public using this path which will become the access route for the forwarder when it starts removing the felled logs from Zone 1. (Zone Map at bottom)

RTS have stopped all machines from using the path until they have put in place measures to protect the burn. That is why there has been no felling by the harvester over the last couple of days.

An excavator is being brought onto site and, along with a work squad, will put measures in place to minimise silt entering the burn while maintaining the flow. They will also be installing a log bridge for the machinery to cross the burn.

Once these works are in place, the harvester and forwarder will recommence operations on the woodland. This will be in the next day or so. The Harvester will move into Zone 2 while the forwarder will start clearing the cut logs from Zone 1.

RTS has concerns that the impact of the forwarder on the path will result in unacceptable amounts of silt and mud entering the burn, even with remedial measures in place. This will depend on the substrata (the make-up of the ground under the path) and to a degree the weather. If the route deteriorates significantly, an alternative abstraction route through the woodland may be required. A possible route is being explored.

From a public safety necessity, and also as the path will become increasingly unusable, the path between the Gillies Hill sheds entrance and the walled garden will be completely closed to the public. In addition, the open area next to the Walled Garden will also to closed off to the public as it will be used to stack logs prior to transportation off site. Please adhere to all barriers and notices. These are primarily for public safety.

It is fully appreciated that closing this path will cause inconvenience to users, particularly if this is your usual walking route. This will only be for a few weeks and it is an opportunity to explore other parts of the woods away from the felling area.

Douglas Todd, Chairman of the CCDT Board of Trustees has noted that he, and can confidently say that all Trustees, are extremely upset at the impact of the felling on the beautiful woodland. If there was anything we could do avoid this we would. Please bear in mind that the disruption to the path network is a relatively short term disruption until the felling and clearing is complete. We will work hard to restore a useable path network as soon as practical. We appreciate the understanding and patience shown by users in these extremely difficult times.

The usual weekly update will be issued tomorrow, Thursday 17th Feb on the planned works over the next week.

Blog written by Jim O’Connor