Field Notes: An opportunity at Glenlude
Glenlude Manager Karen Purvis reports on a new opportunity to push our native tree planting project forward by several years.
In the autumn of 2021, we were served with a Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN) by Scottish Forestry after they confirmed that much of our hybrid larch at Glenlude in the Scottish Borders was infected with Phytophthora ramorum - or larch disease as it is more commonly known. This didn’t come as much of a surprise as we’d been aware that it was in the area for some time.
Ten hectares of larch across the site needed to be felled along with a couple of Sitka spruce compartments that would have been left exposed and susceptible to wind throw. After a consultation process, we engaged with a local forestry company, and they arrived on site in November to start the felling process. We were fortunate with the weather and by the end of December it was all felled and the harvester off site. Knowing that the ground conditions would deteriorate considerably and Storm Arwen throwing in a wild card the decision was made to hold back extracting the timber until later in the spring.
In April, machines returned to Glenlude, this time a brand-new top of the range forwarder and an excavator, which was used to create any necessary tracks and maintain the current tracks to ensure smooth access for timber wagons – a steady flow of which came and went daily.
Holding back extraction proved to be a good move and by the end of May all the timber was gone, leaving only the excavator to ‘make good’ any repairs across the site and finish clearing brash into heaps and rows in readiness for planting with native broadleaved species.
^ The regular team from rehab charity Phoenix Futures returned in April 2022 for their annual visit to Glenlude's Phonenix Forest to plant native trees to commemorate and celebrate the recovery journey of everyone who has completed their programme.
So, a busy time at Glenlude, but a great opportunity for pushing our native tree planting project forward several years. We plan to engage with many familiar groups (eg Phoenix Futures pictured above) and new groups over the coming seasons as we create a new native woodland in the footprints of the larch, improving the habitat for wild things big and small.
The team will be reviewing our forest plan, taking into account the recent happenings and many learnings over the past 10 years.
- Find out more about our work at Glenlude.
Portrait of Karen taken by Benjamin Statham for our Wild places need heroes campaign.