Kerrera plants rewilding project

Volunteers at Kerrera's new community woodland

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A community woodland is taking root on Kerrera.

Volunteers from the island have already started planting 1,000 oak trees with plans to plant thousands more with a little help from visitors.

Farmer and artist Sheila McGregor has painted a cheery sign welcoming people to the woodland as they walk from the ferry just before Little Horseshoe Bay on the island’s east side and a box is ready and waiting for donations. Every £1 will buy a tree.

Isabella Adamson, five, has already planted 40 trees all by herself on Kerrera
Sheep wool from Kerrera farmer Sheila McGregor is put to use to protect the young trees
Colourful plants sprouting up now the area is livestock free in the community woodland area on Kerrera

Hands-on help from a core of islanders, including the ferryman, means a sturdy fence to keep out hungry animals is up and planting started with volunteers of all ages out in all weathers.

Mark Adamson who is helping co-ordinate the rewilding project said: ‘Wind, rain, sleet and snow – we’ve been out planting.

‘It’s been about four months since the area was livestock free and already we are seeing a transformation. There’s so many bees and butterflies. It’s just spectacular. We’ve got some flowers we’ve never seen on Kerrera before, not because they are rare but we’ve never seen them there because the land was grazed. The white clover is stunning.’

The woodland’s location means anyone heading towards Gylen Castle will walk through it and the project hopes visitors will be generous with donations.

Planting up the woodland has also been made possible with support from Dunollie Estate, which owns the land, and New Reflections, a company that runs outdoor-based respite care for young inner-city people and let it from the estate.

Farmer Sheila has also put use wool left over from shearing to great use as mulch around the trees.

‘Not only does this keep them warm in winter and cool in summer but naturally decomposes, providing nutrients. It’s a great insect hotel and stops other plants and grasses competing with the young trees.

‘This is a great example of how much farming has to offer the rewilding effort,’ said Mark, who works for New Reflections and has also had a helping hand from his five-year-old daughter Isabella who so far has planted 40 trees all by herself.