Community Woodland CVN News Volunteer Sessions

This Season’s Tree Planting is Complete!

The 2023/2024 winter tree planting season is complete!

Over the past few weeks our volunteers have worked hard to plant over 1,800 trees within Gillies Hill Community Woodland, in the area affected by the SPHN felling undertaken in 2021/2022.

We hope you have had a chance to take a walk up the woods (uphill from the Gillies Hill sheds entrance, up the “7 winds path”) to see the changes.

Some highlights include:

Tree Species mix : An entirely native mix of 18 different trees species including Oak, Rowan, Birch, Wild Cherry, Hornbeam, Hazel, Beech, Dogwood, Field Maple, Elder, Alder and Scots Pine. This mix will steadily grow to produce a diverse and colourful woodland environment for users and wildlife for generations to come.

Seven Sisters Oak Saplings : Around 50 Sessile Oak tree saplings have been planted which were taken from our own tree nursery area in the Walled Garden. These oak saplings have grown from acorns harvested from the big oak tree in the 7 Sisters field prior to its felling to make way for the new housing development. It’s fantastic to see the legacy of this tree live on in the woodland.

Quarry Scots Pine Saplings : We also planted a number of Scots Pine saplings that were saved from Murrayshall Quarry and grown in our tree nursery. We hope to save more of these saplings in coming years and transfer them to a new home within our woodland.

Biodegradable Tree Tubes : We have a mix of large and small tree tubes made of organic cotton and pine rosin which are 100% biodegradable. These tubes should stay in place for around 5 years to protect the trees from animal browsing, before gradually decomposing.

Nursery group and community planting days : It was wonderful to welcome children from the Cambusbarron Village Nursery, as well as community volunteers, to take part in our planting work. Each child and volunteer had the chance to write their names on the trees they planted, for them to look after and watch grow over the coming years.

THANKS : We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the organisations who have made this work possible, including:

The ITF have provided generous funding to allow us to purchase tree tubes and additional tree species. The ITF do some outstanding work planting and protecting trees, and supporting communities.

The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and The Woodland Trust : for donating free trees as part of the community planting projects

DA Shanks expertly cleared the planting area of thick brash, Rhododendron and fallen trees, and prepared each tree planting position. They also created a series of new attenuation ponds and drainage channels/swales to retain water on the hill and safely drain it away from houses on Gillies Hill. We’re delighted to see that frog spawn has already begun to emerge in some of the ponds, and we’re looking forward to seeing what other wildlife makes their home there in the coming years.

What’s Next ? Over the coming months we’ll be working to maintain the trees, undertake weed control and apply deer deterrent (i.e. sheep wool!) to give the trees the best possible chance of establishing and thriving in the woodland.

We’ll also be looking at exciting plans for more tree planting next season. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates!

If you have any suggestions on other projects or improvements to Gillies Hill Community Woodland, please let us know by emailing