Community to benefit from new funding for Corehead

Borders Forest Trust’s project at Corehead, near Moffat, has been awarded three years of funding from Scottish Natural Heritage, enabling us to offer a range of events, educational opportunities, volunteering and training activities to even more people at the site.

The Natural Connections project will include a conservation volunteer programme with over 16 sessions per year. This will comprise practical conservation work such as tree planting as well as surveying and monitoring of wildlife at Corehead. We are looking for interested volunteers to participate in the project, including wildlife watchers and photographers. The volunteers will help us to determine the populations of wetland and forest birds, butterflies and small mammals, as well as monitor the development of heather moorland, wildflower meadows and newly planted trees.

The next Tree TLC volunteering sessions are on 2 November and 7 December from 10am to 4pm. Transport from Moffat will be provided.

BFT is also coordinating environmental education activities for local schools and colleges. The Rural Skills Group from Moffat Academy will use the site to develop new skills such as drystane dyking, tree and hedge planting and tree surveying, which contribute towards SVQ qualifications. Other environmental education activities and guided visits are available to schools. These will enable young people to learn about the wildlife of the Moffat Hills and how the work at Corehead will help to improve biodiversity through habitat creation and management, whilst retaining the traditional land use of hill farming.

Other events to enable visitors from the region and beyond to explore Corehead, located in the Moffat Hills Regional Scenic Area, include Hunt the River Fly and Botany in the Beef Tub. These will be held each year of the project. Event details will be listed on the events section of our website.

The Moffat Hills Regional Scenic Area centres on the Southern Uplands of Hart Fell, with their characteristic rounded hills dissected by steep clefts and patterned with a mosaic of rough grassland, heather, scree, and montane vegetation on the high summits. The area earned its designation for the distinctive character of its landscape, including the cavernous Devil’s Beef Tub, a hollow in the hills where the notorious Border Reivers once hid their stolen cattle, and Hart Fell itself, one of the highest peaks in Dumfriesshire, with a connection to Arthurian legend. Both features are predominantly located at Corehead.

BFT’s Natural Connections activities this year are part of the Year of Natural Scotland, a celebration of the country’s biodiversity, wildlife and natural landscapes. It aims to encourage people to discover Scotland’s natural heritage, to explore opportunities for conservation, to encourage young people to enjoy the outdoors, and for income generation to ensure the long term sustainability of Scotland’s natural assets.

We recently reached a major milestone in the Corehead project having planted almost a quarter of a million new native trees there with the help of our volunteers. These include rowan, a favourite for Scotland’s National Tree, which is currently being voted on by the public. The planting milestone earned the charity a congratulatory Motion in Parliament lodged last month by the SNP’s Joan McAlpine.

For more information on opportunities to get involved, contact Corehead Site Manager Phil Roe on 07713566295 or email phil@bordersforesttrust.org.