Final stage for Inverawe woodland transfer

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A community is waiting for news of a funding bid to take ownership of ancient woodland at Inverawe.

Inverawe Community Woodland  is now in the last stage of acquiring 15 acres of ex forestry land off the A85 beside the River Awe so people in the area can enjoy it for walking and leisure for generations to come.

About £20,000 is needed from the Scottish Land Fund to complete the transfer of ownership.

Mature beeches and oaks are just some of the species that cover the tree-filled land that has been in the ownership of re-named Forestry and Land Scotland for about half a century. There are also Scottish Pines, Rowans, and Holly trees on the site that is home to Red Squirrels.

The group has more than 30 members now and growing in support of the project that will see volunteers become woodland guardians under the initiative, clearing scrub, getting rid of invasive rhododendrons and freeing up some paths that have been blocked by fallen trees, putting up signs to stop littering by visitors, and possibly draining a boggy area where the land dips into the bottom of a valley so people can cross more easily.

Forestry bosses have given their blessing to the land being sold to the community group, which got Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) status back in February.

Inverawe Community Woodland chairman John Bergant compiled a 55-page business plan that spanned three years to satisfy SCIO regulators and potential funders. The group’s SCIO number is SC049985.

Membership to the group, which has an official constitution, is open to anyone living in the Taynuilt Community Council area, stretching out as far as Kilchrenan and Dalavich.

Although there are no meetings at this time due to Covid restrictions, anyone interested in helping maintain the land in the future can still get in touch, said Mr Bergant and that includes businesses in the area.

Support has been gratefully received from Forestry and Land Scotland and Highland and Islands Enterprise, guiding the group through the application to get SCIO recognition and to apply for funding from the Scottish Land Fund.

To qualify for Scottish Land Fund money, the association needed to have five per cent of the woodland’s valuation which it got through members’ fees.

Fundraising will be needed for the upkeep of the land and any costs that come with owning it, including public liability insurance seeing as access would be open to everyone.

Interested? Mr Bergant can be emailed at john.b.bergant@btinternet.com