by Jamie Buchan, The Courier, December 3 2018, 9.22am
Two historic woodlands that are being sold-off as part of a nationwide forestry shake-up could be revived as part of a community take-over bid.
Five Mile Wood at Stanley and Taymount, near Murthly, are being offloaded by Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES).
The body, which manages the estate on behalf of Scottish Government ministers, said the idea is to sell sites “that deliver few social, environmental or economic benefits” with proceeds ploughed into creating new woodlands.
Now a steering group has formed to investigate bringing both woods into community ownership under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme.
The West Stormont Woodland Group has been busy recruiting members, while gathering support on social media.
Around 250 people have so far backed the ambitious project.
Group members are in talks with local landowners and residents to gauge interest in a takeover, while draft plans are being drawn up to show how the sites could be improved to benefit visitors and people living in the local area.
The group’s spokesman said members were given a “helpful, informative and inspiring” tour of the woods by FES foresters.
He said: “All of this is working towards bigger community consultation activity in 2019.
“WSWH invites anyone with an interest in the prospect of our community owning these woodlands to get involved at any time. Anyone with special skills which could help in this amazing adventure should get in touch.”
West Stormont was the name used in medieval times to cover the parishes of Auchtergaven, Kinclaven, Logiealmond, Moneydie, Redgorton and the Murthly portion of Little Dunkeld.
FES also hopes to sell off a third Perthshire site, Dalrulzion near Glenshee. Together, the three sites represent 2,100 acres of woodland.
Five Mile Wood is well used by dog walkers, although it gets mixed reviews on Tripadvisor. Some visitors have complained about poor parking, with others claiming there’s nothing much to see inside the wood itself.
Taymount, the smallest of the three at 380 acres, boasts a range of conifers and is popular with cyclists.