A Community Council have been leading a project to manage, care for and improve access to a community woodland in Dumfries and Galloway.
The village of Crossmichael sits on the east bank of the River Dee, some 4 miles north of the market town of Castle Douglas, in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.
The woodland, is in the management and care of Crossmichael & District Community Council and the woodland path is part of a popular circular local walk.
Work carried out on the woodland area includes an improved path surface, drainage, gates, picnic tables and a new footbridge. One of the main aims of the project was to improve accessibility for a wider range of user abilities.
Funding for the project has come from the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme and Blackcraig Wind Farm Community Fund with funding from Blackcraig Wind Farm (Scotland) Limited, administered by Foundation Scotland working in partnership with The Glenkens & District Trust.
Richard Middleton, chairperson of Crossmichael & District Community Council is delighted with the work that’s been carried out and said: “Our Community Woodland has been a valued village asset since it was first planted some 25 years ago, but there have always been some accessibility problems, especially in wet weather. We have now finally been able to sort these out, and at the same time we have taken the opportunity to install extra benches and picnic tables. I hope this will make the woodland even more attractive to residents and visitors alike. We could not have done this without the generous support of our two funders, and we are very grateful to them – as we are also to the Shedden family, who own the land and who continue to support community use of the woodland.”
Fiona Smith, Chair of the Glenkens & District Trust, said: “The project is a great example of groups working together to make a real difference to their communities. The monies were awarded in the first round of funding from the Blackcraig Fund and there are now a number of excellent examples of where money from the fund is supporting our communities and the people who live here.”
McNabb Laurie, Galloway Glens Team Leader, added: “The woodland is ideally placed on the edge of the village, making it such a great asset for residents and visitors. Every time I have visited the site, it is being well used. All credit to the Community Council for identifying and addressing the access problems in the woodland. I am particularly delighted that the work was undertaken by a Dumfries & Galloway based business, with the path itself being made of the world-famous Dalbeattie granite. The Galloway Glens Scheme has drawn together funding from lottery players across the country and we aim to spend as much of that as possible in the local economy. This is needed now more than ever. Our thanks go to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and all supporters of the Galloway Glens Scheme, including the Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Environment Team and the UNESCO Biosphere.”
Dumfries and Galloway Council are also delighted with the community woodland and Councillor Andy Ferguson, Chair of Communities Committee said: “We place a huge emphasis on community empowerment and this work carried out by Crossmichael Community Council is a fantastic working example of this. Well done to everyone who has contributed and I look forward to seeing the path for myself in due course.”
Councillor John Martin, Vice Chair of Communities Committee added: “The whole community will benefit from the path and the Community Council should be very proud of their efforts. As a fairly rural local authority, it is also great to see our countryside improved for the benefit of locals and visitors alike.”
Other projects Crossmichael CC are working on with their partners include developing a Heritage Centre which is located partly in the Church Hall and partly in the Old Hearse House, purchased from Dumfries and Galloway Council by community asset transfer. We look forward to following this exciting story as it progresses.
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