Whinnyhill Wood Restoration Project
Eadha was approached by Elderslie Estates to discuss options for Whinnyhill Wood, to the east of Kilmacolm. It is adjacent to Glen Moss Site Special Scientific Interest and Kilmacolm Golf Course, both well used by local people, the moss also being a Wildlife Reserve managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT). The site comprises an area of clear-felled conifer (Sitka Spruce, 2019). Rather than simply restocking with more conifers, given the sensitive location of the site and the estate’s interest in landscape and ecological restoration, an alternative plan was sought.
The agreed vision for the site was to undertake the necessary interventions to see it transform from a commercial conifer plantation to an open mosaic of evolving native scrub and woodland habitats including Upland Oak-Birch Woodland with Blaeberry (NVC W17) with minimum inputs as typically utilized in conventional woodland creation including herbicides, plastic tree guards etc. The environmental and landscape impacts of these are increasingly being recognised.
A phased planting will take place over a five year period. Natural protection methods will be adopted including the planting of thorny scrub species such as hawthorn, blackthorn and holly in advance to afford some protection to more palatable species such as oak and aspen. Furthermore, it is expected that gorse and broom will regenerate naturally across the site which will also be exploited as protective thorny scrub for under-planting. Allowing the gorse and broom to establish will also restore the natural character of the site as inferred by its name. Planting will be undertaken in clumps rather than uniform spacing to maximize protection and to create a more naturalistic effect.
Planting will be undertaken with the assistance of a local corporate group who have expressed interested in being involved in this work. Any additional stock obtained will be planted using other volunteers recruited.