Scotland’s Finest Woods Award

Borders Forest Trust is delighted that  Carrifran Wildwood is joint winner of the New Native Woods category in the 2017 Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards.  The Award was presented to Dr John Savory, Carrifran Wildwood volunteer and biological recorder (who led the application process),  Dr Philip Ashmole, Trustee of BFT and Co-ordinator of the Carrifran Wildwood project and Dr Jane Rosegrant, Director, BFT.




The other winner was Mar Lodge Pinewoods in the Cairngorms, a National Trust for Scotland project based primarily on natural regeneration rather than on planting.  We are hoping to arrange reciprocal visits to the two sites in the coming months.

The awards were presented by Fergus Ewing, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity.  Although there is normally only one winner of the New Native Woods Award, an exception was made this year because “the judges were presented with two sites of the very highest standard and were unable to separate the two“.  We can all take pride in the many years of work that has led to this recognition of Carrifran as an exemplar of ecological restoration.

The judges said that “Both winning sites are exemplars of what ecological restoration can deliver by sound planning, informed delivery and, not least, determination and enthusiasm. These projects have been a long time in the making but are now showing the results of hard work, good science and detailed monitoring programmes to help inform future management decisions.

The judges could not help but be inspired, not only by the achievements of the Carrifran Wildwood, but also by the enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment of their guides who have been the main drivers for this project. Without this, such undertakings would rarely get off the ground.

 On arriving at Carrifran, they added, one is now in no doubt of having arrived at an exemplar ecological restoration project. Native woodland has firmly established itself and while this has been mainly by planting, there are encouraging signs of natural regeneration taking place. The woodland, up to higher elevations, is intermixed with long-lost dwarf shrub heath. The site stands as a beacon of hope within the Southern Uplands where woodland cover, such as it is, is largely confined to ungrazed cleughs and ledges.

 The project is driven by sound science and excellent monitoring. This not only helps inform the future direction of Carrifran but undoubtedly acts as a body of information, advice and encouragement to assist similar projects elsewhere.”

As we continue our work to restore the  ‘Wild Heart of Southern Scotland’ this award is a great boost of encouragement. Thanks to all of our volunteers, members and supporters for making this vision and project possible.

If you haven’t seen our BFT film yet its got some lovely footage of Carrifran and chat from the volunteers who made it possible! Watch the BFT film here

Volunteers at our annual High Camp


Some of our regular Tuesday volunteers