The very best forests and woodlands have been honoured in Scotland’s annual ‘Tree Oscars’.
The winners of the 2018 Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards were chosen from an “outstanding” year of entries, according to the judges.
The Awards programme honours the contributions made by woodland to people, the environment and the economy, with the winners presented with trophies and cash prizes at a ceremony at the Royal Highland Show.
Winners from across Scotland – from Galloway in the south-west to Braemar in the north-east – received their awards from Fergus Ewing MSP, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity.
He said: “New figures have shown that Scotland is responsible for almost 80 percent of new forest and woodland creation in the UK. This is a testament to the value and importance of our £1 billion forestry and timber industry and the economic, environmental and social contribution it makes.
“But behind all of this success, there are talented and passionate people whose dedication creates woodland resources for our communities, woodland habitats for our wildlife and woodland resources for our forest industries.
“I am particularly pleased that the schools award is once again so well-contested – it is heartening to know that the future wellbeing of our forests will be in so many good and capable hands.
“Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2018 celebrates and recognises fine woods and fine people and I congratulate all the winners wholeheartedly.”
Angela Douglas FICFor, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods, said: “This has been an outstanding year, with a very high quality and wide variety of entries. The addition of the Farm Woodland Award has been a tremendous success, with a superb set of entries reflected in a winner, plus a highly commended and a commended entry.
“We also saw a joint award, in the whole Forest or Estate category of the Quality Timber Awards. The judges couldn’t split the equally excellent Houston Farms Partnership for the Elderslie Estates in Renfrewshire and the Hunt-Grubbe Family Trust for Kenmore Forest by Inveraray, Argyll.
“Also, the Scottish Government made 2018 the Year of Young People and we are delighted to be honoring three schools from Melrose, Motherwell and Fife, whose pupils might become the forestry leaders of the future.”
The Farm Woodland Award judges were thoroughly impressed by the winner, Peter Gascoigne of Gascoigne Farm Ltd in Peeblesshire. He has planted 126 hectares on a hill farm in the Scottish Borders, combining “softwood trees for commercial use and hardwoods to be retained for future generations.” He has also built a farmhouse, steadings and ponds on the 385ha farm since buying it in 2002. In his entry, Mr Gascoigne said: “Our main farming enterprise is breeding quality lambs, and this can only be achieved in my opinion by creating warmth and shelter by planting trees given the altitude of the farm.”
The judges said: “Mr Gascoigne’s efforts are an inspiration to other farmers considering planting woodlands on their farms. The owner is conscious of landscape design, with biodiversity, wildlife and conservation all factored [into] the woodland mix.” They said Mr Gascoigne had “demonstrated the direct benefit of the woodland to the agricultural business with productive conifer woodland starting to yield returns and more productive better quality lambs being produced on the farm.”
Angela Douglas FICFor added: “We were only able to introduce the Farm Woodland Award thanks to the generous support of the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland and Scottish Woodlands Ltd. Indeed, the Awards can only continue to thrive thanks to support from many organisations in the forestry sector across the tree nursery, children’s learning, forest management, NGO and sawmilling sectors.”
In addition to trophies and prize money, all winners receive a specially- commissioned cherry wood commemorative plaque engraved with their winning details to keep, and a certificate.
The 2018 winners were:
Community Woodlands Award – Winner of the Tim Stead Trophy and the Large Community Woodland competition:
K-Woodlands, East Kilbride
Farm Woodland Award – Winner of the Lilburn Trophy for Farm Woodlands:
Peter Gascoigne for Gascoigne Farm Ltd., Broughton, Peeblesshire
John Strachan for Tullo Farm, Oldmeldrum, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire
Iain Stewart for Gain Farm, Cumbernauld, Glasgow
New Native Woods Award – Winner of the Woodland Trust Scotland Trophy for New Native Woods:
Invercauld Estate for Craig Leek & Meall Gorm, Braemar, Aberdeenshire
Trees for Life for Allt Fearna, Dundreggan Conservation Estate, Glen Moriston
Quality Timber Awards
- New Commercial Woodlands category
Winner of the James Jones Trophy for New Commercial Woods:
James Jones & Sons Ltd. for Rig of Airie, New Galloway
- Small Wood, Compartment or Single Stand of Trees category
Winner of the Hunter Blair Trophy for Silvicultural Excellence:
Sandy Paterson for Senwick Wood, Kirkcudbright Bay
- Whole Forest or Estate category
Joint Winners of the John Kennedy Trophy for Multi-purpose Woodlands:
Houston Farms Partnership for Elderslie Estates, Renfrewshire and
Hunt-Grubbe Family Trust for Kenmore Forest, By Inveraray, Argyll
Schools Award – Winner of the Crown Estate Scotland Schools Trophy:
St. Mary’s School, Melrose
Joint Runners up:
Our Lady of Good Age Cathedral Primary School and Nursery, Motherwell and
The Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery, Letham, Near Cupar, Fife.