Blackwood Estate Community Association (BECA) has secured the purchase of the 67 acres of “Loch Wood” on Blackwood Estate (shown in pink in the plan below).
See the update from BECA:
SUCCESSFUL PURCHASE OF LOCH WOOD COMMUNITY WOODLAND
BECA is delighted to announce the successful purchase of Loch Wood in Blackwood Estate. This ancient woodland is now firmly in community ownership and will be actively conserved for future generations.
We’d like to thank all our funders for their support in helping to make this happen: South Lanarkshire Council, the Scottish Land Fund, Scottish Landfill Communities Fund (via EB Scotland Ltd and Fife Environmental Trust), our private donors and all those who have helped in achieving this important milestone after almost three years of collective effort!
Essential Health & Safety works (tree surgery and fencing) will begin on 3 May 2021, and should complete by mid-July 2021. We therefore request that any visits be delayed until this work is finished, for safety reasons – we will notify the completion of works on this page.
Plans for 2021/2022:
First and fore-most we want to ensure that we work to preserve and enhance the woodland and its wildlife. We are therefore requesting expert guidance from SNH and other agencies before making any changes. During the pandemic this may take us a little time and we ask for everyone’s patience while we work through this.
Our immediate plans are as follows:
• Essential Health & Safety works - see above
• Opening ceremony to thank and acknowledge our funders: to be confirmed but planned for mid-August, if Covid rules allow
• Developing plans for an outdoor learning area for schools and community groups
• Identifying the species using this rare habitat (working with SNH and The Woodland Trust)
• Developing a limited path network which will enable greater access with minimum impact on wildlife.
We actively welcome new members (membership is free!) – please complete and sign our membership form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 believe that it is important to permanently protect wild woodland and not to adversly modify. The woodland is of course already accessible and is walked by more adventurous visitors.
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.