Woodland volunteers hailed

The work of local volunteers in creating a community woodland in South-west Scotland has been hailed as “an inspiration” by Environment & Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson.

Under the Gallowhill Community Woodland Project, volunteers have been working with Forestry Commission Scotland to establish a new woodland at Gallowhill for the benefit of local people.

During a visit earlier this week, Mr Stevenson met volunteers from the project and saw first hand some of their work and heard plans for the future. He said: “This community woodland is a great example of how a piece of land can be transformed for the benefit of local people.”

To date, over 160,000 broadleaves have been planted and paths built to improve access. The community group wish to develop the woodland more with interpretation, arts, a forest garden and more viewpoints.

Jim McCulloch, from the Gallowhill Community Woodland Project said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity by Forestry Commission Scotland to work with them in partnership on this wonderful project.

“We have submitted various funding applications to take forward the project and are hoping to appoint a full time Project Manager soon who will oversee our Group’s vision for the future of the Woodland Project. We wish to encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of the woodland as it develops over future years.”

Much of the hard work to develop the woodland has also been undertaken by trainees from the Galloway Forest Volunteer project, where practical skills for employment have been learned.

The Commission bought the land in 2008 as part of a national drive to give urban people better access to woodlands.