feel free to email us gifford.woodseh41@gmail.com and/or fill in the pledge form on the right - this is a community-led project, your input is important

Sunday, 21 January 2018

January 2018 Update Newsletter

We have a lot going on in the coming months at Gifford Community Woods.

For more information, and key dates for your diary, please see our latest newsletter by clicking here.

You can also subscribe to future email newsletters here: http://bit.do/giffordwoods

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Why are we felling trees?

As you may be aware, our goal is to restore the native woodland of Speedy Wood for the benefit of all our community (human and otherwise!). With this aim in mind, we will be felling two small compartments of non-native conifer plantation. As well as not being a natural component of the woodland, many of the trees in these compartments have blown over and pose a significant fire risk. It is therefore vital that we carry out this work.
We anticipate that works will take place during January and February, after which the area will be re-planted with native broadleaf trees such as oak, wild cherry and rowan. 
Please bear with us whilst this work takes place and be aware of contractors operating in the woods. For your own safety, please also respect the safety signs you may see.
Thank you.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Community Woodlands Association (CWA) Newsletter

You may be interested to see the latest edition of the Community Woodlands Association (CWA) newsletter.
Please see PDF link here.

Friday, 4 August 2017

AGM (Annual General Meeting): Mon 28th Aug, 7:30pm

Our AGM took place on Monday 28th August at 7:30pm for Gifford Community Land Company Ltd., the registered charity that now officially owns Speedy and Fawn Woods.
Having an AGM is a legal requirement of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

For those who couldn't make it, the presentation shared can be viewed online here.

Thanks to those who did attend.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Project Manager appointment, and next Public Meeting (Tue 13th June, 7:30pm)

Gifford Community Woodland has appointed village resident, Neville Kilkenny, as their first ever Project Manager. 

Nev was pleased to be chosen to manage the practicalities of putting the charity’s ambitions for the woods into action.  An expert in fungi who also works as a carpenter, Nev leads identification forays in a variety of settings.  He enjoys explaining the important role that fungi play in the life of the planet, and in our everyday lives.  His work has taken him all over the world, giving the opportunity to share his enthusiasms which include bushcraft.

As soon as the purchase was completed in April, Nev started work on drafting up a full Management Plan for the future of the woodland.   As he explains:
“The number one priority is to make the area safe for public access and already I’ve identified what needs immediate attention so some important tree works have started. The trees needing work have been marked, and contractors commenced work on Monday 15th May for a period of a few weeks. They are removing some diseased, fallen or damaged trees to make it safe for us all to use the woods.  It was essential to get on and do this now to protect members of the community that use the woodland.”

Nev shares the vision of preserving the naturalness of the woods as the key to what happens in these ancient woods now that they are owned by local people.  Like the volunteer management team, Nev is keen to get input from the community to guide those next steps.  And it is also time for a modest celebration to mark the completion of the buy-out!

There will be a public meeting on Tuesday 13th June at 19.30 in the Village Hall with cakes and refreshments to mark the significant achievements to date, as well as updates from Nev and the project team - and plenty of time for discussion on what is planned for this point forwards.  John Wrinn, the charity’s Chair, explained:
“More opportunities to meet Nev and contribute via local meetings and events will be announced soon.  Meantime we hope people can come along on June 13th to celebrate their new role as the proud owners of this important local area, and to let us know what they’d like to see happen here.  We’d like to thank everyone for their support and contributions to date too”. 

The appointment of a Project Manager has been made possible with grant funding from the Scottish Land Fund.  The project is also funded by Fallago Rig Environment Fund and East Lothian Council Partnership funding.  Local people and supporters from further afield have donated and volunteered time for the project too.

To see the event on Facebook see: https://www.facebook.com/events/787648451398298/

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Tree Works Taking Place

Following the purchase of Speedy and Fawn woods to form Gifford Community Woodland, some important tree works now need to be undertaken to ensure the safety of future visitors.

You may have already seen some of the trees marked, and contractors have been appointed to commence work from Monday 15th May for a  period of a few weeks. 

They are removing some diseased, fallen or damaged trees, and it was important to do so now to avoid disturbing nesting birds later in the summer.

Please be aware of these works and respect the safety signs you may see.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Green shoots of growth to follow completion of land purchase

A new era of local land ownership starts today, April 12th, when the community purchase of Gifford’s Speedy and Fawn Woods was completed.

The 55 acres of woodland were previously privately owned.  Now that is set to change, thanks to months of hard work by a dedicated group of local volunteers, engagement and fundraising within the community and grant from the Scottish Land Fund, EastLothian Council Partnership Funding and the Fallago Environment Fund. 

The future will see the woods in communal ownership and managed as a resource for all living, or visiting, locally to appreciate and help to sustain.  With a Project Manager ready to start work and grants towards the operational costs of managing the woods in place, the next steps will start straight away. 

A community event to celebrate this local success story is planned for early June to thank everyone who has worked on making the purchase possible, including by donating towards the costs not covered by grants.

John Wrinn, Chair of GCLC, commented:-

“Our journey towards this landmark started in 2015 when the woods were offered to the community, and today is the first big milestone in that journey.  We have learnt a lot together in a short time and generated many interesting ideas for how we can work together to enjoy and manage these much-loved woods for the benefit of the whole community. 

Our plans now include improving paths and ensuring they are suitable for everyone to use.  We’ll be making things better for the trees, plants, animals and insects in the woods too, by ensuring that their habitat is managed effectively. It is a very exciting time for the village; the woods are a favourite place for many people, and this project means we can make sure this continues for years to come.

It has taken a sustained and intense effort by many local people to get us this far and the whole management group would like to thank them for their donations and time, as well as our funders.  We look forward to meeting everyone in our woods soon!”

Notes for Editors

GCLC is a charity formed to secure and develop 55 acres of Plantation on an Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) and Native Woodland, which forms the northern boundary to the historic village of Gifford in East Lothian, for the benefit of the local community. The charity has secured funding from the Scottish Land Fund to purchase the Speedy and Fawn Woods.  Grants have been secured from Fallago Rig and East Lothian Council for operation costs.  Local people have donated matching funds towards costs.

The Project Manager will support the Board of Trustees and volunteer management group to develop and implement a three-year plan for the future of the woodland.  This will develop over time, but the initial key areas of focus will be:-
  • Active management, development and conservation of the existing woodland.
  • Engaging local schools, residents and community groups in a programme of conservation and educational activities within, or relating to, the woodland.
  • Engagement of, and support to, individual and groups of volunteers for woodland management activities.
Further information:
The Scottish Land Fund:
  • The Scottish Land Fund reopened to applications in April 2016. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the Big Lottery Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, both of which have extensive experience of helping communities to acquire and develop their assets for over a decade.
  • The SLF Committee was appointed following the normal procedures for public appointments.
  • The BIG Lottery Fund distributes lottery funding to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. It also uses its expertise in grant-giving to distribute non-Lottery funding. Full details of the BIG Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk. BIG Lottery Fund Public Enquiries Line call: 0300 123 7110.