West coast rainforest gem receiving some tlc with the help of volunteers
Dunollie Wood is a site that we acquired via a long term lease two years ago. It is an absolute jewel of west coast Atlantic Rainforest in the heart of Oban town, overlooking the sea. A stroll along what I have termed the promenade path, a beautiful clifftop walk along the edge of the site, affords spectacular views of the sea, the islands and also the “Calmac” ferries coming and going from the busy port.
Ross Watson, Site Manager, has begun the upgrade of paths in the wood and installed signage. This has taken considerable planning, both because it’s such a biodiverse ancient woodland site, and because he has been working closely with the local community to make sure that what we do on the site fits local requirements. This is the first major piece of work Woodland Trust Scotland has undertaken at Dunollie, and is a great example of enabling access while being sensitive to the habitats of the Atlantic rainforest.
When we first acquired Dunollie we ran various consultation events to find out how local people and organisations use the site and what they would like us to achieve there. There are four wonderful volunteer Woodland Wardens that were people who attended the event and showed an interest in volunteeing and they have been out and about keeping an eye on things for us as well as actively helping with tasks. Thanks to a £500 grant from Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) through their Community Action Fund, the volunteers are now tooled-up having purchased a range of tools and equipment from Oban store Highland Fasteners. The resource will be a significant part of the new Community Tool Library managed through Keep Oban Beautiful so the tools can be utilised for projects beyond Woodland Trust Scotland and thereby benefiting all green spaces in Oban.
Very soon we will be stepping up our volunteering activity at the site and forming a shiny new Woodland Working Group to help us build and maintain paths, remove invasive non native species of trees and vascular plants and so on.
Scotland Volunteering Development Officer