Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards are back for 2024 after a wonderful celebration in 2023. And this year four key areas form the focus of the prestigious Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards – climate, community, forestry and farming.
The environment is central to everything the awards are about and the competition for the Climate Change Champion Trophy promises a strong field. Last year The Future Forest Company for Dumyat, near Stirling, took the prize with a “multi-use forest for the future”, which saw great examples of carbon sequestration, enhancing biodiversity and providing for communities.
Jean Nairn, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods, said: “Forestry and agriculture play a vital role in the rural economy of Scotland and we are proud to celebrate that in our awards. But they are also an important player in the nation’s attempts to move to net zero and tackle climate change – helping the environment not only in reducing CO2 but also reducing the risk of flooding and protecting vital peatland habitats, as well as helping agriculture thrive.
“Last year it was great to see lots of community involvement, from both young and old, in the awards and we are expecting for the same again in 2024. It is vital the fight against climate change involves all sectors of society so everyone can help mitigate, educate and adapt to the challenges we face in Scotland and across the globe.
“Across Scotland we know there are inspirational people who are making a difference through their commitment to the woodlands they own, manage and volunteer in. This is the chance to celebrate them.”
The great work of communities was highlighted last year by the winners of the Tim Stead Trophy for the overall Community Woodland Award – Friends of Almondell & Calderwood with West Lothian Council for Almondell Woods.
The winner of the Woodland Trust Scotland Trophy for New Native Woods was Martyn’s Wood, Crannich, Isle of Mull – which created an area of biodiversity on inhospitable ground and was planted in the memory of the nephew of owner Robin Sedgwick.
Meanwhile, Fordyce Primary School near Portsoy in Aberdeenshire took home the Crown Estate Scotland Schools’ Trophy.
And the winner of the Scottish Forestry Early Years’ Trophy was Bushcraft Bairns at Comrie Croft, Perthshire who created a Forest School setting that nurtures connection with nature through play.
Forestry and farming form a bedrock for the awards with vital work in integrating trees into the Scottish landscape, to benefit wood production and agriculture, as well as the environment. This year we are excited to announce a new sponsor for one of the 11 competitions – the Farm Woodland Award Whole Farm / Croft, which comes with the magnificent Lilburn Trophy for an active farmer/crofter anywhere in Scotland, will be sponsored by Fountains Forestry UK Ltd. Without sponsors and supporters there would be no annual awards and the organisers are grateful for the new and continued support.
A brilliant example of agroforestry using pigs won David Carruth the Scottish Woodlands Farm Woodland Trophy for Young People in 2023 for his work at Brodoclea, Dalry, North Ayrshire for The Future Forest Company.
And the icing on the cake for the Quality Timber Awards was the highly coveted Dulverton Flagon, an occasional award given at the judges’ discretion for a successful balance between commercial forestry and competing objectives. It was given to Ardachuple, in a National Scenic Area at the Kyles of Bute, Cowal – owned by Bamberg Ltd and managed by Tilhill.
The Scottish Government continues to support ambitious tree planting targets and organisers are hoping for another exceptional set of winners in 2024.
Last year, Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform & Islands, presented the awards. She said: “The awards are a great opportunity to showcase Scotland’s woodlands and the very people who work tirelessly to manage and care for them.
“There’s a great variety of awards involving best practice in farm woodlands, climate change, community involvement, right through to schools and native woodlands.
“I would certainly welcome and encourage all those to enter the awards and help make the 2024 event another big success.”
The full list of awards are open to anyone with a high-quality project, whether that be a school or pre-school nursery, a forestry business – small or large, an expert forester, farmer or crofter, and a community woodland.
Guy Watt, Chair of Scotland’s Finest Woods, the charity which operates the programme, said: “It was a pleasure to once again be at the Royal Highland Show to celebrate some wonderful work being done across Scotland. This year is already looking set to be a great success.
“It is important we celebrate and champion the environment as well as the community and commercial work which contributes to a wonderful diversity of woodlands in our country.
“Praise should also go to the judges, whose knowledge and guidance are vital to producing an awards programme that is of the highest excellence. We should also thank entrants for taking the time and effort to take part in what is a fantastic celebration of trees, woodland and forestry in all its forms.”
Entries must be submitted by 23:59 on Sunday March 31, 2024. For full details, criteria and entry forms see: www.sfwa.co.uk
For more information and all media inquiries please contact Nick Drainey at email@example.com or 07711441707