North Cloich Woodland, June 2020. Here three distinct soil types and a high water table challenge the re-establishment of this ex-sitka spruce plantation as a woodland of native broadleaf trees. This project needs more people to plant more native trees and to help them grow.
About North Cloich Woodland, a native broadleaf multi-benefit woodland
Conserving nature, trees, people, place and planet.
North Cloich Woodland & Hutting Site
North Cloich Woodland lies low within the broad upper valley of the Cowieslinn Burn, beside the quiet minor road that links the A703 to the A701 near Lamancha in the Scottish Borders. Owned by Jess Windsor, this land was purchased from the Forestry Commission in 2008 as an inappropriate clear-felled sitka spruce plantation. Twelve years on, some tree cover has been established across the site's 31 acres, after a partly successful planting of 10,000 broadleaf trees and coppiced willow. In some places a new generation of sitka spruce has also volunteered from seed. Parts of the woodland still need to be planted, others replanted. The Cowieslinn Burn defines the eastern edge of North Cloich Woodland. With careful management this riparian edge could become a more valuable ecological habitat. Within the woodland six water scrapes were dug in 2014, as part of The Eddleston Water Project led by Tweed Forum; https://tweedforum.org/our-work/projects/the-eddleston-water-project/. These water scrapes help intercept heavy rainfall in the Tweed catchment, provide focal points in the landscape and are fantastic havens for wildlife. This native woodland needs more resources. To help with tree planting and establishment, a woodland-supportive multi-benefit project is underway: an enabling proposal to include simple recreational shelters (huts) within North Cloich Woodland, with hutters as dedicated and resourceful woodland stewards. The hutting site received planning approval in September 2020, subject to conditions. Applications for huts are now being welcomed. See the North Cloich Huts page for more information. The overarching aim for North Cloich Woodland is conservation, improving local biodiversity and enabling this part of North Cloich to regenerate as a beautiful species-rich woodland of native broadleaf trees. The growth of long-lived trees on this low-value land will capture and store large quantities of atmospheric carbon, now a priority concern. Good stewardship needs people, time, skill, perseverance and reward. To enable responsible people to commit to the long term conservation of this native woodland, 15 privately owned low-impact huts will be located throughout the site, providing sheltered spaces for people on the land, planting and caring for their own trees whilst enjoying their individual peaceful retreat within the woodland. Completing the planting of the woodland's 31 acres with locally native trees is only the first challenge. Helping each new tree to survive and adapt to nature's adversities, then ensuring growth as a diverse and thriving woodland, will need patience and a long-lasting commitment of time and physical energy.
North Cloich Woodland's current owner will share this long-term challenge with other responsible caring people by the division and sale of some of the land as woodland parcels of more or less than an acre, including a small plot for a woodland hut as a shelter for intermittent use by the woodland parcel's owner. The challenging and seasonally wet land needs people to become rooted in this engaging part of North Cloich, planting more broadleaf trees and committed to the long-term improvement of the native woodland and its wildlife. The social success of the hutting site should be measured by its long-term contribution to the local communities of North Cloich and Lamancha.
The Hutting Site will comprise fifteen hut plots (fourteen in private ownership and one reserved for use by charities), together with their access footpaths andthe shared vehicle track to the car park, all to be hidden among the developing trees. Hutters must abide by the site principles as a condition of ownership, which will govern social and environmental aspects of site use. Huts, by formal planning definition, are for intermittent use and must not be used as residential accommodation. As a condition of planning approval, each hut plot is to be effectively screened by additional tree planting.
These website pages about North Cloich Woodland Hutting Site include:
the conservation purpose of the project
an introduction to hutting
details of the safe and convenient access to nearby public transport
a calculation showing North Cloich Woodland hutting site's important role in capturing large amounts of atmospheric carbon
the vision statement for North Cloich Woodland and an outline of the hutting site principles
photographs of the partially regenerating woodland in summer and winter
contact details and news updates
CLOICH n. a place of shelter; the cavity of a rock where one may elude search. [Chambers Scots Dialect Dictionary 1911]
People, land, trees; novice to excellence in six years. If anyone needs woodland inspiration or doubts the wisdom of involving inexperienced people in woodland management, here is a salutary story from the Quarterly Journal of Forestry... “In 2013 Alvecote Wood won the RFS Excellence in Forestry award in the small woodlands category. This represented a major journey in just six years from neglected woodland with novice owners to an award-winning site.”