Ancient Caledonian pines in a winter wonderland – a treat for volunteers and staff!
Beautiful, snowy Cairngorm mountains provided a stunning backdrop for the first of four Woodland Trust Scotland volunteer gatherings of 2018. Ancient Woodland Restoration (AWR) was the theme, and the 15 volunteers attending heard from AWR project staff all about the 3 year Heritage Lottery funded project – what it has achieved, and the next steps. One of the AWR volunteers, Joanna Gilliatt, shared the findings of her fascinating research into bobbin mills and their impact upon ancient woodlands.
Attendees also heard more about what is happening across the Trust in general and with volunteering, as well as having plenty of time for networking and chatting. These gatherings are very social events!
As usual, the best bits were outdoors, and the group visited spectacular ancient Caledonian pinewood at Kinveachy Estate, where Alan Crawford and Alasdair Firth, the AWR project staff, led an incredibly informative ancient woodland habitat ID workshop. These two know so much not only about the trees and the ecology but also about the history of ancient woodlands and how they have been utilised by humans over the centuries. The group also recorded some ancient Scots pines for the Ancient Tree Inventory. there were some massive trees, including one “stonker” (technical term!), with a girth of over 5 metres!
On the second day the group walked several miles in stunning snow and sunshine, through Rothiemurchus Estate. Alan and Alasdair highlighted features of interest along the way that were interesting in terms of woodland management and history.
The absolute best moment was when, under a massive old pine tree, Alan read out his beautiful story, “In the Land of the Glittering Wood Moss”. Read more about these stories here. https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2018/01/whispering-woods/