News from Arran Community Land Initiative

Taking stock of developments in 2022

Our strategy for the community land includes:

• Improving access
• Growing fruit and vegetables by/for individuals and for the community
• Improving Biodiversity
• Growing Initiative sustainability
• Increased community involvement in activities

Step by step we have made progress in most of the above strategies.

We received a large grant in partnership with ACVS towards track improvement. The grant came from the covid recovery fund. This enabled construction of a track all the way from our car park to the Glenashdale exit at the south west corner of the land. It also provided a bridge over a burn enabling access to our top fields. Anecdotally we believe it is encouraging an increasing number of walkers to use the community land.

While there has been the usual turn-over of allotment users there has also been increasing interest for half or full plots. We have made available more land for plots to accommodate demand.

The community garden is now led by a group of volunteers. They decide on a planting plan and tasks. They usually meet up on Thursday mornings at the community garden and we have welcomed several new volunteers during 2022. It is an opportunity to socialise and garden together in lovely surroundings. It is also useful for people who may not want the responsibility of their own allotment to take home the produce of their own efforts.

During 2022 volunteers have constructed a produce point for excess produce together with a donation box so that walkers and visitors can take what is available.

Volunteers planted several hundred trees in early 2022 and taken part in bracken bashing to help young trees avoid becoming smothered. We have also formed links with Arran farmers to enable conservation grazing in certain areas.

Our income from allotments and horse lets does not provide enough for general maintenance and future development, once the cost of Public Liability Insurance has been met. This means that despite being wholly volunteer run we need to supplement our income with grant aid for particular projects.

During 2022 we received our first basic support grant from Scottish Government Rural Payments and have worked with our agricultural adviser on claiming environmental support payments.

2022 saw a varied use of the community land by community groups. For example, volunteers ran a basket weaving group and the Orienteering club ran a very successful event on the community land.

Plans for 2023

In the last few weeks we have been successful in our application for three grants and these will help to kick start future development.

The Arran Trust has provided over £1,800. This is to support track maintenance, the community garden, biodiversity and publicity.

CALMAC community fund has provided over £1,300 for us to purchase a sickle bar mower. This is to cut back tougher vegetation and bracken from the sides of tracks and between newly planted trees, especially in places where we cannot use our small tractor and flail mower.

Scottish Agricultural College is helping source a grant to fence a further two fields for wildflower meadows and conservation grazing.

In addition, we are very hopeful of receiving an environmental grant to restore wild flower meadows and manage scrubland. The meadows should provide seasonal colour and support pollinating insects, while scrubland is very good for a range of animals and insects.

We are very grateful to all our funders for their financial support in helping develop the community land.

Trustees would like to increase public awareness of the available produce from the community garden. More donations for produce would go a long way towards the annual cost of maintaining the garden. Improving publicity might also encourage more people to volunteer and become involved in the Community Land.


Early in the new year we will finish construction of a bird hide across the new bridge at the top of the land. Hopefully this will become another place for bird watchers to observe the many varieties of birds that live and visit Arran.

If anyone wishes to find out more about the Community Land or what volunteering opportunities may be available please visit our website and Facebook page