Pentland Hills Woodland Planting

Pentland Hills Woodland Planting

In 2010-11 LFGNP were awarded a CSGN Development Fund grant to carry out scoping, consultation and development work for woodland expansion and management in 5 core areas of the Pentlands.

The Pentland Hills Woodland Creation and Management 2015 Update

LFGNP were then awarded further CSGN Development Funds, to focus on one of these core areas, the Pentlands North East Slopes. The North East Slopes Landscape Management Plan sets out a description of the North East Slopes, and provides information on the strategic context for woodland management and expansion.

Individual Management Plans were then created for the four land-holdings within the North East Slopes. These four land holdings were:

  • Bonaly Country Park – largely owned by the City of Edinburgh Council
  • Dreghorn – owned by the Ministry of Defence
  • Swanston Farm – owned by Private Individual
  • Hillend Country Park – owned by Midlothian Council

Full details of the project are on the Pentland Hills project pages.

Practical delivery of the management plans 2015

During 2014-2015 the first new areas of woodland has begun to emerge.

Woodland planting at Swanston Farm was delivered by the Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) who planted 11 hectares of trees, funded by a Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) grant of more than £58,000 for woodland creation.

Within Bonaly Country Park (City of Edinburgh), ELGT planted 12 hectares, funded by a woodland creation SRDP grant of more than £63,000. Additional funding for the work was provided by theCentral Scotland Green Network Development Fund as well as SRDP funding for the capital works such as deer fencing.

Some woodland blocks have been protected using deer, live stock, or rabbit proof fencing, while other areas have used tree guards and net shelters to protect the young trees. The shelters and fences will be removed once the trees have become successfully established. A mixture of native species including Oak, Alder, Downy birch, Rowan, Aspen, Gean, Hazel, Bird cherry, Hawthorn, Scots pine and Juniper have been planted with the general proportions being 70-80% broadleaves, 10-20% Scots Pine and 10-20% open space. Gates and stiles have been placed at key locations along the fencing to allow access across the park to remain open. Wildlife gates which will allow species such as badgers to maintain their foraging routes have also been built into the fencing at strategic locations.

Planting at Dreghorn (MOD) is being managed by the Woodland Trust Scotland and will become one of their four flagship Centenary Woods to commemorate the First World War. 10 hectares of woodland have already been planted, with 7,500 trees planted by schools and volunteers from the local community. There are also features including an avenue of wild service trees. In total 50,000 trees will be planted at Dreghorn, creating 40 hectares of new native woodland by 2018. The Woodland Trust Scotland has also established 2 hectares of stunning wildflower meadows at Dreghorn.

Within Hillend Country Park, Midlothian Council have aspirations to deliver 11 hectares of broadleaf planting.

Future Plans

There are desires for further woodland creation to take place across the Pentland Hills Regional Park to enhance the new and existing woodland networks. The new SRDP 2014-2020 Forestry Grant Scheme offers a number funding streams geared towards woodlands, including Woodland Creation grants, Forestry Co-operation grants and the new SRDP Environmental Collaboration and Action Fund. The co-operation funds aims to encourage collaborative projects involving a number of landowners by providing support for project facilitation and co-ordination.

If you would like to discuss the current work or future plans for the Pentland Hills Regional Park, or if you are a new landowner who would like to discuss potential involvement with woodlands creation plans, then please get in touch with LFGNP at info@lfgnp.org.uk

Further information on the Forestry Grant Scheme can be found here: https://www.ruralpayments.org/publicsite/futures/topics/all-schemes/forestry-grant-scheme/

And information on the Environmental Co-orperation and Action Fund here:

https://www.ruralpayments.org/publicsite/futures/topics/all-schemes/environmental-co-operation-action-fund/

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