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Huge planting project for historic ancient woodland

By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Huge planting project for historic ancient woodland

THE revival of an ancient woodland in Mid Nithsdale is set to continue with another phase of tree planting this winter.

Keyr Wood – a 5000 acre ancient oak woodland mapped as far back as 1654 – has been at the centre of a community restoration project.

Although much of the woodland has been lost to agriculture, extensive remnants of oak woodland pasture and many ancient individual oaks remain. Work is now being planned over the coming months to plant hundreds more oak trees.

The issue forms part of a report that will go before councillors sitting on Nithsdale Area Committee next week. The report reads: “A partnership approach between local landowners and the council’s environment team is leading work to restore and re-establish this historic woodland.

“Autumn 2022 saw the first planting underway and, with funding secured from the Nature Restoration Fund and from the Woodland Trust, winter 2023 will see the second season of planting across the 20 identified landowners.

“This will kickstart the revival of an important ancient oak woodland with a habitat of major significance to southwest Scotland.

“In partnership with Keir Community Council and the Dumfries and Galloway Woodlands Initiative, there is a target this year to plant a further 400 individual oak trees in protective tree boxes.”

Meanwhile, the council’s environment team has worked with a range of partners to deliver a third year of the South of Scotland Tree Planting Grant Scheme.

This provides grants of up to £1000 to support small scale native tree planting projects (covering up to 0.25 hectares) across the entirety of Dumfries and Galloway.

This is delivered through the Dumfries and Galloway Woodlands Initiative, in partnership with organisations covering the Scottish Borders Council area.

The scheme is funded using a portion of the council’s allocation of the Nature Restoration Fund. Last year saw more than 11,000 native tree planted across the region, however it is expected that this figure will have been exceeded by the end of the 2023 planting season.

  • Library photo used


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