Blackwood Estate Community Association wishes to obtain funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to purchase the 67 acres of “Loch Wood” on Blackwood Estate (shown in pink in the plan below).
The intention is to specifically retain the land as natural, wild woodland and protect it from commercial development. With advice from environmental agencies (e.g Scottish Natural Heritage, The Woodland Trust and The Scottish Wildlife Trust), they hope to significantly increase the biodiversity of the woodland for future generations.
In the past, Loch Wood has been proposed as the site of a commercial pet crematorium, has been the site of small commercial timber production (but was not subsequently re-planted in the 1990s), and currently forms part of a business selling souvenir “Laird of Blackwood” title plots online.
The group may face a challenging application process, as the funding agencies may expect land to be “opened up to the community” and not protected in its natural state. However, the group believe that it is important to permanently protect wild woodland and not to adversly modify, and as such hope that the project is perfectly valid. The woodland is of course already accessible and is walked by more adventurous visitors. Other local areas such as Kerse Farm in Lesmahagow have already been developed for greater public access and provide a valuable community resource: the group do not believe it is necessary to duplicate these facilities.
One important aspect to ensure is the safe access by local schools who may wish to access an area for "forest school” activities. Blackwood School already runs these activities on a weekly basis for their pupils (albeit on a small area of land next to the main Estate road at the bridge - not a particularly safe spot). The recent upgrading last year of the local public path through the Estate (funded by Auchrobert Wind Farm funds), allows a pleasant circular route from Boghead to Blackwood and vice versa.
The group is currently progressing the funding application (via Scottish Land Fund): one of the first tasks is to gauge local support.
You can provide your input by completing the on-line survey.
If you are happy to support, then please complete below so that local support can be identified. (Note, email address is optional but if you wish to be updated on progress and are happy to be contacted by Blackwood Estate Community Association then please complete the email fields.)