THE biggest new native woodland in central Scotland for many years is to be established on the outskirts of Dumbarton.
The Woodland Trust Scotland (WTS) acquired the 240 ha (600 acres) Lang Craigs site, to the north of the town, in 2011. Over 200,000 trees will be planted, many thousands of them by volunteers, local residents and school children.
Scotland is one of the least wooded countries in Europe and the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) set out a vision in 2011 to change this and increase the area of woodland near to where people live – this will be the biggest so far.
New trees will be planted on the acquired land Photo:Jim Bain
Over the next 15 years, WTS will benefit from over £1m funding from EU and the Scottish Government’s Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) administered by Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS).
Keith Geddes, Chair of the CSGN Partnership Board said: “The Lang Craigs project will not only create greater biodiversity but will also provide leisure opportunities for local people. As part of the Scottish Government’s preventative health strategy CSGN is keen to promote active leisure opportunities and I am sure that the project will prove attractive for young and old alike. I welcome the involvement of local school children in the project as it will help them understand the contribution that woodlands can make to mitigating climate change.”
The grant will cover costs in relation to establishing the new wood, future maintenance, access and interpretation.
The Commission’s Conservator for central Scotland, Keith Wishart, said: “This is a significant project that will have a substantial and positive impact not only on the immediate site but on the work to green central Scotland.
“It will also make a welcome contribution towards improving biodiversity, the health and well-being of the local community and to Scotland’s effort to mitigate against the impact of climate change.”
In as little as 12 years it will be transformed into a flourishing young woodland providing a thriving home for wildlife and fantastic place to visit. Plans are already under way to involve local school children and the community in the first tree planting in Autumn 2012.
“Years of neglect have dulled much of its magnificence but Lang Craigs offers fantastic opportunities for native woodland creation. Scotland is desperate for new native woodland – it is one of our best habitats for wildlife, but surprisingly, is a scarce resource with only 4% cover across the country.” explained Carol Evans, Director of the Woodland Trust Scotland.
She continued “Lang Craigs has the potential to become an intrinsic part of the community; local people will be involved at every stage of the site’s evolution. Tree planting days will help forge a real connection with the growing woodland and children can use the various landscapes as outdoor classrooms that will change and grow over time.”