Field Notes: Break for the border

Glenlude manager Karen Purvis reports on a rewarding volunteer exchange day in Northumberland, helping to restore the Kielderhead Wildwood

Jmt volunteer exchange at kielderhead wildwood  191205 (6) detail

In early December I joined a group of our regular Glenlude volunteers and Glenlude Conservation Officer Sarah for a day in England, with Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Kielderhead Wildwood Project volunteers.

This is a joint venture between Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Forestry England to restore an upland woodland ecosystem. The project aims to plant 39,000 native trees in an area of 94ha over five years and it has a vision to expand, partially across the Scottish border, to 435ha in the future.

The day of our visit was wet – very wet – and windy, but this did little to dampen our spirits. We met in Kielder Castle where Wildwood Project Officer Steven Lipscombe introduced us to the project. Then, fuelled by tea and cake, we piled in to 4WD vehicles and made our way up the valley to Lower Stoney Holes where we were tasked with planting holly on the hillside above Scaup Burn.

Perhaps it was the weather, but the trees went in in record time giving us the opportunity to chat and learn more about the project. There are mature Scots pine in the valley that could be remnants of a much older forest that thrived during prehistoric times. The team has collected and propagated their seed and then planted the resulting young saplings out on site in the vicinity of the parent trees.

Eventually, soggy but still smiling, the decision was made to wrap it up.  After a few cheery photos we retreated to the castle for more tea and cake.  It was a great day out and we hope to welcome Steven and his team back to Glenlude sometime soon.