News from the Arran Community Land Initiative

Tree Planting During the winter months we held monthly volunteer tree planting sessions. Around 10 people came along each time and we estimate we planted around 600 native deciduous trees. These include Willow, Hazel, Rowan, Bird Cherry, Oak, Aspen and Birch.

ACLI has further areas suitable for tree planting in future years. We hope to plant about 600 native trees per winter in the coming years. Volunteers are always welcome to join in. There were children and adults helping and, as our area of native woodland expands, the community should see an impact on the South Kiscadale hillside. We hope our planting improves biodiversity, reduces rapid water run-off and improves the amenity of the land for recreational users.

Community garden Four volunteers have taken the lead in managing the community garden area. They decide what to plant and where and how best to rotate planting. Produce should be available for ACLI members later in the year. If possible, we would appreciate it if those receiving produce give a donation to help with seed and essential costs.

Thursday morning is a regular time for volunteers to work, learn and socialise in the community garden area and anyone with an interest is most welcome to come along.

Improved access We were successful in obtaining grant monies to improve paths and construct a bridge across a burn to allow access to our top fields. This work was completed recently and many people have already made use of the improved track. The fields across from the new bridge are possibly our most biodiverse area. We expect to install a bird hide there during the Summer. If and when further grant aid is possible, we can consider installing a track, from the other side of the bridge to connect with the forest track above our stone dyke boundary.

This is a picture of our new bridge making our top field accessible. We hope to put a bird hide on the other side.

Environmental plans Trustees are working with our agricultural adviser on how best to improve and maintain the community land. There are Scottish Government grants available to manage and restore meadows, manage scrubland, restore fencing, improve biodiversity and support an organic approach.

This may allow some conservation grazing in certain areas from time to time in future years. Herbivores managing meadows are a more natural approach, for example, than using mechanical means.

Saturday volunteer sessions ACLI has a large area of land which needs some level of maintenance during the year. While we hope to obtain a small tractor to complement this work, there are tasks which always need done, and the more volunteers doing them the quicker and more sociable the activity can be!

The types of tasks we need tackled include:
brush-cutting brambles, gorse removal from fields, fallen tree removal, fence restoration and bracken control around newly planted trees. Once we have a tractor and have been trained in its use, we should be able to top certain fields.

Volunteer sessions are planned for every second Saturday of the month starting on May 14th.

Managing land is a long-term pursuit and we welcome anyone who is keen to get involved with this. Not only can you help make our Community Land a pleasant place to use recreationally but you can also make a contribution to reducing climate change and its effects, to producing locally-grown food and improving biodiversity.

If you interested in an allotment please email ACLI at the following address: arranacli@gmail.com

For updates about activities at ACLI, see their Facebook page.

This view is of the track heading south to exit our land and join with forest track to Glenashdale.

Featured image shows view of the new track (foreground) looking up to the top field boundary designated by stone dyke. The forest track is just beyond the dyke.