Spring Update

If you’ve been a walk through our woodland recently there’s plenty new life and colour popping through this season!

The first of our beautiful bluebells started flowering mid-April alongside the violets in the Bearside Meadow area. Now we’re in mid-May there’s plenty of bluebells to see across the woodland.

The beautiful vibrant Scarlet Elf Cups were spotted in amongst the bluebells. In European folklore, it was said that wood elves drank morning dew from the cups!

A mix of native wildflowers that are perfect for butterflies, bees and other insects have been planted in the now cleared Lily Pond area so we’ll look forward to seeing how successfully these germinate. Evidence of badgers digging by the redwood at the Lily Pond has been spotted and we’ve seen a new badger set taking shape in Bearside area of the woods.

Solomon’s Seal spotted at the Lily Pond

Our Woodland continues to be used by various groups to support outdoor education, conservation work and the John Muir Award. This season so far we’ve been fortunate to have pupils from Stirling High School, Borestone Primary School, Riverside Primary School, Camphill Blair Drummond as well as our 7th Stirling Scout group and Cambusbarron Village Nursery too. Special thanks for sixteen amazing bird boxes crafted and installed by the Scout group, some in the residential boundary area and others within the Lily Pond area.

Gardens update

It’s great to see the bursts of flower and colour in both the Castle Gardens and the Walled Garden. Plants and seeds have been bought for both areas and also we’ve welcomed donations of plants/trees from the community too. Photo below is from recently planted flowers in the Castle Gardens.

This is the first year of community growing within the Walled Garden with quite a list already planted – potatoes, pumpkins, strawberries to name a few and also plans for further developing the community orchard of fruit trees too. Lots of planting still to do at upcoming volunteer sessions so all welcome regardless of any previous gardening experience!

Tree Safety Work

Tree safety work has been ongoing by our volunteer Tom and we’ve also had some contractors onsite to assist with some larger or windblown trees were more specialist chainsaw skills and experience is required. We’ve now produced the first draft of a Tree Safety Plan which outlines the framework which the Trust will implement as part of the ongoing management of the woodland.

The next step is to commission an external specialist to assess and make recommendations for action to CCDT. This would be a qualified arborist as a minimum or more normally a professional arboricultural or forestry consultant suitable experienced qualified and insured to carry this out. Any recommendations will then be fed back to the Woodland Management Group to consider and decide actions including reference to Trustee Board and wider consultations with the community. The Tree Safety Plan is currently as a draft as our intention is for it to be audited/reviewed by an independent tree safety consultant to reflect current best practice legislation and guidance.

Planting Trees

A second planting day of the season was held on Monday 1st May where approx 150 trees were planted – some in the residential boundary area and extending across to the otherside of the workbase towards the mud kitchen area too. You can read up about the residential boundary project and earlier planting session here.

Wood sorrel spotted in the SPHN area

Planning the SPHN restocking is underway, the area affected has been mapped out, visual and soil surveys carried out and our next step is to take professional advice on planting options in line with our Woodland Management Plan. Then we’ll announcing some community consultation sessions to share the advice and options for how we prioritise and replant this area. Our aim is that some compartments will be replanting this autumn/winter. Within our 2023/24 budget we’ve ensured to ringfence some revenue from the larch felled for replanting this area as can be see in the CCDT budget –

Would you like to get involved?

If you want to get more involved in any of our projects or have an idea yourself to lead on then please do chat to one of our Trustees or message us here. If you have any comments or questions to ask regarding this update please do get in touch.

Why not drop in to one of our next volunteer days or events? Everyone welcome and whatever your interests or abilities there will be something going on to suit. This link will take you to our upcoming events –

All our work is currently volunteer led but it’s amazing to see the changes and achievements that a relatively small group can make for the benefit of the woodland, all that live within it and all that are lucky enough to pass through and enjoy it too!