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Planting plan outcry

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By Newsdesk
Planting plan outcry

LOCALS are being urged to have their say on controversial proposals to plant trees at the Devil’s Beef Tub and encircle the iconic site in deer fencing.

A consultation on plans for Corehead and the Devil’s Beef Tub near Moffat show how Borders Forest Trust (BFT) hope to ‘enable a habitat which will support a wide variety of plants and animals for generations to come’.

But some residents in the Corehead valley say the plans go too far, blocking and spoiling the view and removing sheep.

Speaking on behalf of residents, Beryl Castle (pictured) explained that when BFT purchased the land over 12 years ago the ‘neighbours’ were supportive.

She said: “Its proposal was that the land would be managed as a place ‘where hill farming and biodiversity combine to create a lasting heritage’.

“Phase one planting, completed several years ago, saw the eastern valleys planted with 230,000 trees, whilst Blackface sheep graze the western part of the farm that includes the iconic Devil’s Beef Tub.

“Now extensive additional tree planting will include land that is the main route into the Beef Tub and all sheep will be removed.

“As the broadleaved trees grow, the view into this iconic site will be lost. BFT’s proposed tree planting on Great Hill and on the approach to the Beef Tub will adversely affect the classic view of the iconic hills in Upper Annandale and what is perhaps the most impressive landscape feature in the Southern Uplands, the huge bowl of the spectacular Devil’s Beef Tub.”

In addition, BFT also propose erecting a deer fence slicing through the Devil’s Beef Tub and enclosing a large area, running over Annanhead Hill, Great Hill and down the Skirtle.

Beryl believes this would ‘adversely change this beautiful landscape.’

“This site is scenically and historically important, both to locals and visitors alike,” she added. “We do not seek to stop all planting, merely on the approach to the Beef Tub.”

She also explained that there are already native trees planted along the burn and they have been enclosed by a normal field fence, which she considers less invasive and added: “Deer incursion is very low in this area and only very infrequently culling of deer has been required.

“We would propose that any new planting in phase two is protected in a similar manner.”

Meanwhile, MSP and Moffat-native Oliver Mundell said: “The Devil’s Beef Tub is one of the most iconic and significant sights on the local landscape and I share the concerns of a number of local people that the proposed planting will impact on the setting.

“I plan to respond to the community consultation and I am seeking to meet with Borders Forest Trust to put forward a compromise that ensures any new planting does not go beyond existing and established footpaths.

“This would protect existing access from the valley floor and represents a more realistic buffer to prevent this impacting on the Beef Tub itself.”

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