Award-winning community buyout group to visit Strontian

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Sunart residents are being invited to get involved in progressing the community buyout of the Longrigg Woodland above Ardnastang, near Strontian, which is being sold off by Forestry and Land Scotland.

Anyone with an interest is being encouraged to share their views at one of two Sunart Community Company (SCC) meetings in November.

The 87-hectare block of mature pine, spruce and larch at Longrigg was earmarked for sale a few years ago and Sunart Community Company commissioned a feasibility study and business plan funded by the Scottish Land Fund.

This showed a community buyout was financially feasible and earlier this year the SCC board voted it would help organise the buyout if there was enough interest from people who would form a working group to advise on managing the land or take part in the project.

SCC will be holding the two meetings to share information about the buyout with anyone with an interest in woodlands in West Lochaber and to gather their views on the project.

John Jones, SCC director said: ‘We would really like to hear from anyone in the area who might want to get involved.

‘We believe owning the forest presents great opportunities for new recreational activities, a woodfuel business, perhaps even a forest croft, as well as a chance to generate cash for the community given the high values of timber.

‘It’s an exciting project and we hope people will get in touch.’

On Wednesday November 3 at 7pm there will be a socially distanced meeting in the Sunart Centre. Special guests will be Gill and Harry Burn, volunteers with Laide and Aultbea Community Woodland north of Loch Ewe, which recently won the Small Community Woodland category of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards.

The audience will hear an inspiring story of how the community bought a remote block of commercial forestry in 2003 and are gradually installing new access and recreational routes and improving biodiversity whilst battling hurricane winds, forest fires and Covid 19.

On Thursday November 4 at 7pm, there will be a Zoom meeting. Anyone wishing to register for the zoom event should email to receive the zoom link.

Photograph (NO_F44_SunartCommunity_LongriggWood): Longrigg Woodland near Stontian is being sold off by Forestry and Land Scotland.