Britain's most remote peninsula wins two top woodland awards
Two woodland projects on Knoydart are honoured at Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2015
Knoydart, the remote West Coast of Scotland peninsula accessible only by sea and foot, has won two prestigious accolades at the Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards, which celebrate the contribution that woodlands make to the environment and economic prosperity of Scotland.
At the Royal Highland Show, Aileen McLeod MSP, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, presented the ‘New Native Woods Award’ to Lester Standen, John Muir Trust property manager for Knoydart - with Trust member David Shepherd being highly commended for his work at Wester Craggach Wood near Inverness .
Meanwhile, the Knoydart Forest Trust was named winner of the Viable Livelihoods competition, and overall winner of the category and the Tim Stead Trophy.
John Gallagher, an ecologist on the judging panel for the New Native Woods Award, said: “The John Muir Trust project clearly demonstrated an alternative model of land use that recognises the need to control deer numbers in a manner that allows habitat recovery to the overall benefit of the environment and deer themselves.”
“For a number of reasons this project stands out as an exemplar of sustainable land management and one which the John Muir Trust can be truly proud of their achievement over the past 20 years.”
Accepting a cheque for £1000, a specially engraved commemorative cherry wood plaque and the Woodland Trust Scotland Trophy for New Native Woods, Lester Standen (pictured on the right, along with John Muir Trust Chair Peter Pearson and Environment Minister Aileen McLeod) said: “We’re honoured to receive this level of recognition for our rewilding work on Knoydart. This award is a result of the John Muir Trust’s progressive deer management policies that have allowed native species in the area to flourish.
“Li and Coire Dhorrcail is a very special wild place. Over the last two decade dozens of volunteers, Trust staff and local contractors have worked tremendously hard to regenerate this corner of Knoydart with benefits for the woodland, wildlife, local people and visitors.”
Lester also congratulated the Knoydart Forest Trust on its double success. “We have supported the Knoydart Forest Trust with grant funding and volunteers, and we’re delighted that their superb efforts have been recognised by these two awards.”
In making their decision to award the John Muir Trust the New Native Woods award, the judging panel further noted that:
- The Trust’s use of local labour provided economic benefit to the community within a fragile local economy.
- The Trust’s use of volunteers helps spread the message that native woodland establishment requires care and attention and demonstrates that alternative land use models exist
- The Trust’s use of locally sourced seed and its tending of seedlings for planting out helps minimise the risk of spreading disease by ensuring that species match the site type.
Read the full list of winners of Scotland's Finest Woods Awards 2015 here.
Find out more about our work in Knoydart and how you can help here.