ICF South Scotland and RSFS: Rig of Airie New Woodland Creation & Glenlee Champion Trees

The Institute’s South Scotland Regional Group and the Royal Scottish Forestry Society invite you to join them on 12th of September.

In the morning you will have the opportunity to visit Rig of Airie, a 365-hectare new woodland creation.

This new woodland creation (NWC), owned by James Jones and Sons Ltd and managed by Patrick Higgins, Senior Forest Manager at Scottish Woodlands Ltd, is located in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway. The forest was designed on a marginal rough grazing site, using three individual Forestry Grant Scheme models: ‘Conifer’, ‘Diverse Conifer’ and ‘Native Broadleaves’, incorporating over 285ha of grant-aided area as well as three existing shelterbelts. Around 600,000 trees were planted, comprising of 74% Sitka spruce, 14% other conifer species (Norway spruce, Scots pine, Western Red Cedar, and Grand Fir) and 12% native broadleaves. 6.5km of forest roads were constructed and over 10km of deer fencing with rabbit netting were erected, a third of which marked for bird striking due to the presence of a black grouse lek. Other constraints included archaeological features such as the Old Edinburgh Road and complex field systems, deep peat, Ground Water Dependant Terrestrial Ecosystems (GWDTE), valuable flora, landscape considerations, as well as flooding mitigation which al1909l determined a unique scheme. It took two years to plan and four months establish, having more than 40 people on site at any one time complete the works. Due to the success of this complex scheme, it won the 2018 New Commercial Woods Category at Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards’.

Discussion points:

  • NWC
  • Application process
  • Archaeology
  • Flooding assurance
  • Wildlife
  • Ground cultivation
  • Fencing
  • Diverse conifers
  • Browsing pressure
  • Shelterbelt
  • Forest design
  • Road construction

In the afternoon you will visit Glenlee Estate.

Glenlee Park extends to some 12ha of policy woodlands and old parkland. The specimen conifers, some dating back to 1860’s, owe much of their reputation to the late Alan Mitchell of the Forestry Commission, who measured the trees over a 30-year period and wrote an article about them for the magazine Scottish Forestry in 1979. More recently comprehensive measuring was done in November 2016 by the Tree Register, although they could not get accurate heights for the big larch and two of the biggest Douglas-firs near the waterfall. However, they were measured at 51 and 46 metres in 1998, as well as the larch at 47 meters, which has since lost its tip and thus, unfortunately, its champion title.

Discussion points:

  • Champion specimens
  • Provenance
  • Tree mensuration
  • History


  • Patrick Higgins, Senior Forest Manager, Scottish Woodlands Ltd
  • David Leslie, Joint Managing Director, James Jones and Sons
  • Daniel Haslam, Assistant Manager, Scottish Woodlands Ltd
  • Jim McErlean, Deer Management Expert
  • Richard Agnew, Owner of Glentree Estate


Delegates must bring a packed lunch. Teas, coffees and biscuits will be provided at Glenlee House after RoA.

September 12, 2019
09:30 - 16:00

Rig of Airie ,
The Queen's Way (A712) DG7 3SB

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