Borders Forest Trust has developed a range of projects where new native woodlands are planted and existing and ancient native woodlands are conserved and regenerated.
Before the Trust was established only 0.26% (1200ha) of the land in the Scottish Borders was covered in native (ancient and semi-natural) woodland. This is one of the lowest native woodland covers in the whole of Scotland. The Borders landscape was once predominantly native woodland, including several historic forest areas such as the Ettrick Forest and the Jed Forest. Now after millennia of deforestation only small remnants and single solitary trees are all that remain of these forests.
Over the years the Trust has developed projects focusing on regenerating ancient woodlands, creating riparian (riverside) woodlands, conserving and expanding juniper scrub, planting farm hedges and planting new native woodlands. All of these projects contribute towards the restoration of the native woodland habitat in the south of Scotland.
Working in partnership with local landowners and farmers, Borders Forest Trust has now created more than 1240ha of new native woodland by planting and natural regeneration across 64 sites and manages 200ha of ancient and semi-natural woodland.
Woodland Work Experience Project
Borders Forest Trust manages a Woodland Work Experience project, aimed at providing jobs and skills for young unemployed people. The project began in late 2009 and every six months has taken on between one and three Woodland Workers through the Future Jobs Fund. This government scheme closed in early 2011 but we hope to continue recruiting young people through the replacement scheme. The project enables BFT develop the skills of these employees in the woodland sector with a view to preparing them to either set up their own contracting business or be more employable in the sector with local contractors. The team are managed by Tim Frost, BFT’s Woodland Site Manager, whose position is funded by the Scottish Borders 2007-13 LEADER Programme.
Wood pasture and parkland are important elements of the Scottish landscape in the 21st century. Both habitats comprise of trees with some level of grazing. Borders Forest Trust Wood Pasture Project differentiates between them by the amount of tree cover.
Wood pasture is an area of wooded land, generally with fairly widely spaced trees and grazing animals. Parkland is open land, usually grassland, with very widely spaced trees and grazed by livestock. In both pasture and parkland habitats, wide canopied mature veteran trees are often present adding ecological and historical importance to the sites.
These landscapes are often associated with a woodland management culture that has all but disappeared from the countryside and they are commonly regarded as historical artefacts from bygone days. The importance of these habitats is now becoming increasingly recognised and work is being carried out to restore and conserve Wood Pasture across the UK.
In the Borders, BFT is continuing the existence wood pasture and parkland landscapes for future generations through the Wood Pasture project.
For more detailed information about the Woodland Pasture and native woodland restoration work, please click here.
The Ettrick Marshes is a mosaic of woodland, wetland, grassland and open water habitats of national conservation importance. Borders Forest Trust is working to restore and manage these floodplain habitats and encourage visitors to experience this unique environment.
The Ettrick Marshes are a haven for wildlife supporting many mammals and insects, over 250 species of plant and more than 80 species of birds. Exotic conifers were felled from the floodplain and natural wetland flora and fauna is now returning to the area.
Visitors are encouraged to access and explore the Marshes and surrounding forest using the network of colour coded way marked trails. An orienteering course is also set out along the routes for those looking for a greater navigational challenge.
The main Ettrick Marshes site is owned by Forestry Commission Scotland and managed in partnership with BFT and the local community. The site is located off the B7009 approximately 16 miles from Selkirk. There are 3 car parks with access to the main floodplain from the Honey Cottage car park. This car park is located by the river along the track parallel to the Honey Cottage Caravan Site.
To find out more about the management and wildlife of the Ettrick Marshes, click here.
To find out more about the access and orienteering at Ettrick Marshes, click here.
For answers to the orienteering course, click here.
Download a map of the Ettrick Marshes here.