For the past few months I have been facilitating meetings in Tarbert and Campbeltown (situated at either end of the Kintyre peninsular) to explore the setting up of community woodlands.
In Scotland, under the National Forest Land scheme, the Forestry Commission needs to work with communities to help them take on parts of the national forest. This can take the form of management agreements, leasing and outright purchase, and has helped dramatically in building the community woodland movement here in Scotland, which now numbers approximately 200.
We are still at the stage of setting up groups for both the Corranbuie forest in North Kintyre, and Beinn Ghuilean wood on the hill above Campbeltown.
The Beinn Ghuilean concept is progressing fast: two exploratory meetings have been held and now a further one is immminent involving the newly appointed core group to take matters forward. We have invited along a representative from the Commission who will answer our questions.
We are still at the visionary “blue sky” phase and are about to begin the nitty gritty of what we call ourselves, deciding on partnerships/alliances etc etc. In other words, the negotiation phase. I hope we will always hang on to the vision, which – as I see it – is all about rebuilding community and biodiversity in the remote rural area that is the bioregion of West Argyll and the Islands.