Knoy­dart wood­land picks up top hon­our at an­nual awards

The Oban Times - - Outdoors -

WON­DER­FUL wood­lands and fab­u­lous forests from all across Scot­land have been recog­nised in an an­nual awards cer­e­mony.

The 2017 Scot­land’s Finest Woods Awards hon­our the out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions made by wood­land to peo­ple, the en­vi­ron­ment and the econ­omy.

The win­ners come from the length and breadth of Scot­land, from Airor Com­mon Graz­ings Com­mit­tee in Knoy­dart in the north west to the Bor­ders For­est Trust Wild­wood Group in the south.

Scot­land’s Finest Woods, the in­de­pen­dent char­ity which op­er­ates the awards pro­gramme, said the qual­ity of 2017 win­ners was ‘ex­cep­tional’.

The awards were pre­sented at the Royal High­land Show by Fer­gus Ewing MSP, Scot­land’s Cabi­net Sec­re­tary for Ru­ral Econ­omy and Con­nec­tiv­ity.

He said: ‘Forestry and tim­ber is worth £1 bil­lion an­nu­ally to Scot­land’s econ­omy and em­ploys more than 25,000 peo­ple - but its wider so­cial, ed­u­ca­tional and en­vi­ron­men­tal value to com­mu­ni­ties and in­di­vid­u­als is in­cal­cu­la­ble.

‘The peo­ple who win these awards are pas­sion­ate and united by a de­sire to sus­tain, main­tain, ex­pand and most im­por­tantly en­joy our forests and wood­land. It is fan­tas­tic that Scot­land’s Finest Woods recog­nises and cel­e­brates the con­tri­bu­tion that peo­ple from across Scot­land make in their hard work to sup­port their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and the en­vi­ron­ment.’

An­gela Dou­glas, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Scot­land’s Finest Woods, said: ‘ The ex­cep­tional qual­ity and the va­ri­ety of the en­tries in 2017 highlights the enor­mous value of forestry and wood­land to Scot­land’s econ­omy, en­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­ni­ties.

‘The Com­mu­nity Wood­land Award en­tries, for ex­am­ple, were of im­mensely high qual­ity, with a win­ner and two com­mended en­tries in both the large and small com­mu­nity wood­land cat­e­gories. We have joint win­ners in the New Na­tive Woods Award due to the ex­tremely high cal­i­bre of both Car­rifran Wild­wood in the Mof­fat Hills and Mar Lodge Es­tate Pinewoods at Brae­mar in the Cairn­gorms Na­tional Park. Very hard work has taken place over many years to achieve the re­sults now vis­i­ble.’

An­other no­table win­ner was Jerah, the largest mod­ern plant­ing site in Scot­land, where 1.3 mil­lion trees were planted in 2015. As well as pro­vid­ing a sig­nif­i­cant fu­ture tim­ber crop, Jerah was de­signed to de­liver a range of public ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing en­cour­ag­ing bio­di­ver­sity, re­duc­ing flood risks and en­hanc­ing public ac­cess.

An­gela Dou­glas added: ‘The judges were very satisifed that the 2017 prizes have gone to what can jus­ti­fi­ably be de­scribed as Scot­land’s finest woods.

‘The awards pro­vide a way to recog­nise and re­ward achieve­ment and find ex­em­plars for oth­ers to fol­low. This can only be done thanks to sup­port from many or­gan­i­sa­tions in the forestry sec­tor span­ning the tree nurs­ery, chil­dren’s learn­ing, for­est man­age­ment, NGO and sawmilling sec­tors.’

In ad­di­tion to re­ceiv­ing tro­phies and prize money, all win­ners re­ceive a spe­cially- com­mis­sioned cherry wood com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque en­graved with their win­ning de­tails to keep, and a cer­tifi­cate.

The 2017 win­ners were: Com­mu­nity Wood­land Awards – Large com­mu­nity wood­land

Win­ner – Airor Com­mon Graz­ings Na­tive Wood­land, Knoy­dart (and Over­all Cate- gory Win­ner of the Tim Stead Tro­phy)

Highly Com­mended – Ai­gas Com­mu­nity For­est, In­ver­ness-shire

Com­mended – Falk­land Es­tate, Fife.

Com­mu­nity Wood­land Awards – Small com­mu­nity wood­land Win­ner – Doune Ponds, Perthshire

Com­mended – But­tery­bank Com­mu­nity Wood­land, Coupar An­gus, Perthshire

Com­mended – Den­lethen Wood, Lau­rencekirk, Aberdeen­shire. New Na­tive Woods Award

Joint win­ners of the Wood­land Trust Scot­land Tro­phy – Na­tional Trust for Scot­land for Mar Lodge Es­tate Pinewoods, Brae­mar, Cairn­gorms Na­tional Park, along­side Bor­ders For­est Trust (for Car­rifran Wild­wood, Mof­fat Hills)

Qual­ity Tim­ber Awards – New Com­mer­cial Wood­lands Cat­e­gory

Win­ner of the James Jones Tro­phy – Mr John Hartz for Jerah, Sher­iff­muir, Dun­blane. Til­hill Forestry are the for­est man­agers

Com­mended – Mr N Adames for Camis Eskan, near He­lens­burgh. Scot­tish Wood­lands Ltd are the for­est man­agers

Airor Com­mon Graz­ings Na­tive Wood­land, Knoy­dart, won the large com­mu­nity wood­land award and the Tim Stead tro­phy af­ter be­ing named the over­all cat­e­gory win­ner.

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