Friends of Glenan Wood celebrates campaign success

Charity secures cash to acquire spectacular Argyll oak woodland

Portavadie, Argyll and Bute, September 19, 2019: A rare surviving tract of Scotland’s once extensive, ancient oak woodland is about to be purchased by a charity based in Portavadie, Argyll and Bute.

The Friends of Glenan Wood has secured a grant of £326,750 to purchase the 361-acre coastal site adjacent to the community.

Formed in 2017 by local residents, the charity put together a proposal under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme to acquire the land from Forestry and Land Scotland who are selling it as a commercially unviable forestry asset. The charity’s efforts also involved making a grant application to the Scottish Government-funded Scottish Land Fund to both purchase the asset and provide initial funding for two posts, a development officer and a forest ranger.

“Glenan Wood is a fascinating and diverse natural habitat that contains areas of oak woodland which are recorded on maps dating as far back as the 1700s,” explained the charity’s Chairman, Robin Webster OBE. “That the wood has survived relatively intact is largely due to its inaccessibility by road for commercial logging purposes. In 2017, when we saw that it was about to go on the open market a group of us felt compelled to act, motivated by a desire to acquire this special place to maintain and preserve it as a fantastic natural resource for the local and wider community.

“After much hard work we are naturally delighted that our application has been approved by Forestry and Land Scotland and that the funding to make the acquisition happen has been confirmed by the Scottish Land Fund. We are very grateful to both of these bodies and are now looking forward to shaping a vibrant and sustainable future for Glenan Wood, ensuring its biodiversity, beauty, peace and tranquillity are enjoyed by many generations to come.”

Among the charity’s initial plans for the wood are improving pathway access to open up more areas of the site and the provision of interpretive signage to help visitors learn more about the diverse flora and fauna found there. Opportunities to explain its intriguing history of human habitation will also be explored given the presence of various ruins, including the abandoned village of Glenan, within the wood. The settlement is known to date back to medieval times.

Various low impact income streams will also be considered as the charity seeks to secure funding for its activities on an on-going basis. For now though, the Friends of Glenan Wood and its supporters are celebrating the success of their campaign and contemplating a bright future for the soon-to-be community owned asset.

“This is an exciting time for the charity and for everyone who knows and enjoys Glenan Wood,” said Robin Webster. “But, of course, in one sense, the charity’s real work has only just begun!”

Picture caption: Two-year-old Tess Appleton, a resident of Portavadie, will be one of many local people to enjoy a community-owned Glenan Wood for many years to come.