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Bringing Back Woodland: winter 2022/23

Spring is in the air - the evenings are getting longer, daffodils are blooming and there are some days when I even consider leaving my wooly hat at home. This also means that tree-planting season is over for another year, making it a good time to reflect on what we have achieved over the winter.

Following Kinkell Byre in November, we completed another four successful tree-planting events and planted 1500 trees in total. Our events were attended by around 120 brilliant volunteers and we would like to thank everyone who gave up their time to support our efforts. The events were made possible by funding from the Rural and Island Communities Ideas Into Action fund and Climate Action Fife, and we would like to thank them for their generous support.

The Eco Hub, St Andrews

The Eco Hub is a carbon-reduction and sustainability advice centre run by the St Andrews Environmental Network. The Hub opened in May 2022 and provides a variety of services, including energy advice, a refill shop and a collection point for the StAndReuse project. One of the latest projects is development of a community garden at the rear of the premises, and we were delighted to be able to support this venture by providing hedgerow and fruit trees for the new garden. Planting took place on the 1st of February with the help of some very enthusiastic young volunteers from nearby Acorn Nursery.

Kinkell Byre part 2

On the 5th March we returned to Kinkell Byre for our largest single tree-planting event of this season. The drop-in event ran from 10am - 4pm and attracted a large number of volunteers of all ages. This included our youngest ever volunteer - baby Otto had his first taste of tree-planting at just 3 weeks old.

Our first task was to plant around 400 trees to form a hedge along the margin of a field, extending the hedge we began planting on our first trip to Kinkell in November. Our army of volunteers made light work of this in couple of hours, allowing us to plant several areas of coppice in the field as well. The promise of a fudge donut from Fisher & Donaldson at the end may have been at least partly responsible for this impressive work rate!

Dreel Woods, Anstruther

Our Anstruther event was a game of two halves. The first part of the event took place in Dreel Woods, a section of woodland containing a public footpath that runs through Anstruther from the Dreel Tavern to Queen's Gardens. Here we planted around 200 metres of hedgerow along the boundary of the woods and the neighbouring industrial estate.

The second part took place a short distance away, where we planted an area of woodland next to the new section of multi-use path which connects Queens Gardens with the Co-op. We were delighted to include two oak trees in this area that were provided by Colin Andrews of the Akin Oak project. These oaks are 9 years old, so considerably more mature than the whips that we usually plant, although still babies in oak terms! Akin is a long-term, large scale, participatory, public artwork in which oak trees are to be planted across the region of Fife, in Scotland, to create a ‘future forest’.

Once all the trees were planted the final touch was to sow a 3-metre wide section of wildflowers, which will hopefully start blooming later this year.

Stenton Farm

Our final event of the season was a smaller scale planting at Stenton Farm near St Monans. The site was rather difficult to access so on this occasion we invited a few core volunteers to help us plant 175 trees, creating a green corridor between two fields. We were blessed with beautiful sunny weather - the perfect way to round off our tree-planting for winter 2022/23.

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