We Can See The Wood For the Trees!

The Community of Colintraive and Glendaruel wins the right to buy Stronafian Forest in south-west Cowal.

Community ownership of one of the most ambitious community buy-outs came a step further this week when the Forestry Commission granted the right to buy 600ha of Stronafian Forest in south west Cowal through the National Forestry Land Scheme.

The £1.55m price tag is a tall order for the small community of Colintraive and Glendaruel but ownership of the land is seen as the catalyst in reversing the area’s economic and social decline.   Plans for developing the forest include leasing small parcels of land at sustainable rents to allow small, low-impact silviculture operations to be encouraged, alongside other entrepreneurial pursuits suited to a woodland situation and developing community.

Proximity to the school offers opportunities to develop an outdoor classroom or forest school, a development of the existing curriculum which is proving increasingly popular elsewhere as an educational  resource.  Indeed areas of the forest, particularly those close to the Clachan of Glendaruel, are rich in archaeological remains, natural history and landscape heritage which will add to the significant amenity resource that the woodland represents.

Charles Dixon-Spain, Chair of the Development Trust said “The scope of the Forest is enormous and our ambitious plans include investigation of wind and hydro sites, the most promising involving creation of a community owned 30 MW/h extension to the Cruach Mhor windfarm.   With national renewable targets to reach and our commitment to help achieve these, there is much to accomplish in the 18 months in which we have to raise the finance”.

“The price tag may appear daunting,” Charles continues, “but we are confident development of our plans alongside our forestry consultant and potential funding agencies will secure this tremendous asset for the long term benefit of not only Colintraive and Glendaruel but for our neighbouring communities.”

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