Unique ID: 104000000026366
Status: Validated / Active
Project Developer: Forest Direct Ltd
Project Location: Scottish Borders
Previous Land Use: Hill Grazing
New woodland area: Gross area 265 ha Net area: 225 ha Open ground: 40 ha
Species Mix: Mixed Productive Woodland: Sitka Spruce 64%, Douglas Fir 7%, Norway Spruce 6%, Scots Pine 9%, Oak 3% other broadleaves 11%
Woodland Management: Clearfell (Sitka and Norway Spruce) Thinning (Douglas Fir & Scots Pine), Minimum intervention of Broadleaves.
Estimated Sequestration: Total 72.257 tCO2e over 55 years, of which 57,806 tCO2e is for sale, 14,451 tCO2e will go to the WCC Buffer.
Start Date: Planting completed April 2019.
The site is located at Broadmeadows in the Yarrow Valley, Scottish Borders. The new woodlands are adjacent to the Minch Moor Drove Road and the Southern Upland Way long distance routes.
Previously a hill sheep farm, the low quality grazing and hill ground has been planted with a multi-purpose woodland designed for the 21st century, combining commercial forestry, diverse conifer and native broadleaves. The farm also has existing woodlands planted in the early 19th century and more recently native riparian planted in 2006. The inbye improved pasture is retained in grazing and has been let to a neighbouring farmer and the landowner continues to live on the farm, resulting in real diversity.
The landowner is keen to develop woodland access for local people and the wider community, there are plans to greatly increase access routes for all ages and abilities, where the public will be able to enjoy magnificent vistas of the countryside and the flora and fauna in the new woodlands and open areas without the need to enter fields with livestock. Significant areas containing environmental interest have been left unplanted. Access routes have provided safe quiet areas where the local community have been able to take daily exercise whether walking their dogs, on bicycles or on horseback throughout the recent Corona virus pandemic, with plenty of space for social distancing. The benefits for mental health and well-being are well documented.
View across one of the site where native broadleaved planting is extended up from existing woodland to provide visual interest and a buffer for surface water runoff: 2020. Image: Forest Direct Ltd
This project is a natural progression of previous environmental improvements on the farm, forming wildlife corridors and improving air and water quality and flood mitigation.
The site has been carefully designed to complement the outstanding landscape of the Southern Uplands which attract visitors from all over the world. Public access will be massively improved by providing a network of access routes which link to regional and national routes such as the Southern Upland Way and Minch Moor road.
The woodland has been carefully designed to include open areas forming very diverse habitat, including rock rose and myriad of other wildflowers which improves the prospect for butterflies such as Northern Brown Argus, Pearl Bordered Fritillary and a plethora of other butterflies, moths and dragonflies.
Black grouse are enjoying the new diverse habitat with wild bilberry now growing in the open areas, last year for the first time we had a brood of black grouse fledge successfully which has been most encouraging. The moorland management plan has created different ages of heather in a mosaic to encourage red grouse, golden plover, snipe and curlew and scrapes & ponds have been formed to provide a food source for the benefit of invertebrates and insects.
Scots pine planted at higher elevation mooorland on the site: 2020. Image: Forest Direct Ltd
The landowner has always had a passion for trees and a real desire for a modern and diverse farm. This takes into the account the uncertainty of upland farming in the Brexit era and the desire to future proof his family assets in view of having no farming successors. This project has given the opportunity for the landowner to diversify and remain resident as part of the local community, while realising his passion for establishing trees and maintenance of the property. The project would not have gone ahead without the prospect of additional income from carbon finance.
Jeremy Thompson of Forest Direct commented:
"The Woodland Carbon Code enabled us to plant a larger percentage of other conifer species including Douglas fir, Scots pine and Norway spruce while still providing a good rate of return on the investment. Having all your eggs in one basket with Sitka spruce is not a risk we wanted to take with climate change and the potential for pest and diseases affecting Sitka spruce."
Alec and Jane Telfer are the landowners, Forest Direct Ltd are the project developer.
The landowner wanted to create a significant woodland area while not following the entirely commercial route of blanket Sitka spruce but still providing sufficient future revenue from timber and carbon. Forest Direct had the vision to design and implement the project with an equal passion to see things done properly.
After extensive surveys covering biodiversity, heritage, landscape, soils and tree selection, a design was formulated and displayed to the community taking their comments on board. Funding was essential to the project going ahead and a Forestry Grant Scheme application was submitted in conjunction with registering the project with the Woodland Carbon Code.
Work commenced in November 2018 and planting was completed at the end of March 2019. Ongoing maintenance is key to successful establishment and has been rigorously applied. The new path network has been designed and mapped out ready for planning prior notification approval. Heather management is undertaken annually in March with swiping carried out in 2020 and will be an annual process.
New planting at the entrance to Broadmeadows, where there was no ground preparation to reduce the impact of planting on wild plants and herbs: 2020. Image: Forest Direct Ltd
Scores (out of 5) for the wider benefits provided by Broadmeadows. Scores calculated using the WCC Wider Benefits Tool.
- Providing the community safe access to a large area of hill ground, benefiting mental health and wellbeing.
- By taking the sheep off the hill natural regeneration of willow, bilberry and heather are enhancing the habitat for wildlife including black grouse, red grouse, curlew, snipe and golden plover.
- The new woodlands are stemming the flow of surface water and therefore are a real contribution to flood mitigation.
- The project will sequester over 72,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 55 years.
- The new woodlands have created work for local contractors and tree nurseries and the planned access improvements will provide an attraction to visitors. Long term plans include exploring self- catering log cabin accommodation.
- A significant volume of high quality timber will be produced in the long term providing home grown timber to the construction and power generation industries.
Extensive area of broadleaves after first growing season, 2020. Image: Forest Direct Ltd