HOME AGAIN . . . ‘The Forest’ producer / director Jack Warrender was brought up on the northern edge of the Galloway Forest Park
The Galloway Forest Park, which covers more than 350 square miles, is the subject of a new six-episode observational documentary
A team from independent production company Tern TV spent six months filming in the region — not only focusing on the forest but the wider timber industry.
Narrated by Scottish BAFTA-winning actor Mark Bonnar and called ‘The Forest,’ the programme’s cameras follow people living and working in and around the park.
They range from chainsaw operators harvesting trees from the forest’s most dangerous terrain to Wildlife Rangers protecting rare and endangered species.
The series also showcases the natural beauty of the area, which is managed by the Forestry Commission Scotland and produces 600,000 tonnes of timber annually.
It is home to the Scottish Dark Sky Park and Observatory as well as three visitor centres at Glen Trool, Kirroughtree and Clatteringshaws.
An estimated 800,000 visitors spend time in the park each year and the vast woodlands represent a signicant part of Scotland’s billion-pound timber industry.
The episode next Monday night, January 15, visits the large James Jones Sawmill, near the M74 at Lockerbie, which cuts through 20,000 logs each day.
Outlining what the camera crew encountered at the site, a BBC spokeswoman said: “When a six tonne monster of a machine called a ‘crosscut stacker’ breaks down, a dedicated engineering team, must save the day and get produc- tion up and running as quickly as possible.”
Manager of the Lockerbie sawmill for the last decade, Andy Campbell, hopes the programmes will increase public perception of the scale of the region’s forestry industry.
He said: “The public do not really take on board the cost of providing timber.
“It begins with the planting 30 to 40 years before, then there is the cost of machinery to cut timber down and the cost to transport it to the sawmill, which also costs a lot to run. Then there is the correct sizing for the marketplace.
“People think how can one piece of wood cost so much? It takes millions and millions of pounds of investment to put that piece of wood on the shelf.”
Further west, the episode also outlines tireless efforts to restock the River Cree after a decade of decline in salmon numbers.
Meanwhile, at Balloch O’Dee Campsite, owner James Lucks organises a comedy night to entertain his guests while else- where in the region Archie McNeillie and John ‘Cool’ Coughtrie from the Forestry Commission Recreation Department deal with a rat infestation in a public area.
The series producer and director Jack Warrender, who was brought up at a farm on the northern edge of the Forest Park, was delighted to be chosen to make the programmes.
He has returned to the UK after a career in Hollywood camera departments working on such feature films as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Captain America: The First Avenger and World War Z.
LEADER of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Dr Elaine Murray, has welcomed the shop window ‘The Forest’ TV programme provides for the region’s natural beauty and many other strengths.
She said this week: “The Galloway Forest is a huge asset to the economy and environment of our region, but is probably not all that well known outside of Dumfries and Galloway.
“The programme is a great opportunity to showcase the for- est and to inform viewers about activities and businesses which operate in the forest and the issues they face as well as its fan- tastic scenery, leisure opportunities and natural environment.”
* The Forest is broadcast on BBC One Scotland on Monday nights at 7.30 pm and can later be seen across the UK on the BBC iPlayer.