Woodland group marks 20th anniversary

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Back row, left to right, Neil MacInnes, Duncan MacDonald, Alan Bell, Eric Wylie, Ian McWhirr and front row, left to right, Hilary Holland, Jan Bell, Gordon Watson, John MacDonald and Peter Wilkes.
Back row, left to right, Neil MacInnes, Duncan MacDonald, Alan Bell, Eric Wylie, Ian McWhirr and front row, left to right, Hilary Holland, Jan Bell, Gordon Watson, John MacDonald and Peter Wilkes.

A WOODLAND community group is celebrating 20 years of volunteering.

Since 1996 members of the Craigmonie Woodland Association have maintained and improved the waymarked trails in Forest Enterprise Scotland’s Craigmonie woodland at the edge of Drumnadrochit.

Sandra Reid, for Forest Enterprise Scotland’s team in Inverness, Ross and Skye, said: ‘They’re a fantastic bunch of people and great to work with. Some of the original members are still very involved with the group – which is great going, seeing as many of them were already retired when they started the group.

‘Their work has improved access for many locals and visitors, including the local schools and nursery. Dog walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders have all benefited, too.

‘It’s a great testament to the benefits of healthy living and getting active in the outdoors.’

The group has also carried out projects such as tree planting, clearing, siting bird boxes and bat boxes, interpretation materials, supplying Christmas logs for pensioners and clearing rhododendrons.

Marking the 20th anniversary of the group Jan Bell, one of the founding members, composed a song celebrating some of the personnel and the group’s achievements over the years.

Other original members who are still with the group include Alan Bell MBE, who has been chairmsn for 20 years, Sandra Bardwell, secretary and treasurer, and Duncan MacDonald.