How are we helping?
Forestry is not a traditional component of crofting but since we established a dedicated croft woodlands team, there has been much demand for the help of the three advisors, Iona Hyde in Argyll and Lochaber, Donnie Chisholm in Highland and Northern Isles, and Viv Halcrow in Western Isles. Crofters looking for our advice can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crofters increasingly see the merits of shelter belts protecting buildings and livestock, with the bonus of a fuel source. In the last couple of years the team has helped with woodland creation at 45 sites with 163 more in the pipeline, which will bring the total of new woods under the scheme to some 600ha. Advice and support on management of existing woods has also been provided at 30 sites covering 500ha. There have been over 400 site visits. The Croft Woodlands Project is a partnership between Point and Sandwick Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Crofting Federation, Shetland Amenity Trust and us. It is supported financially by Point and Sandwick Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland and Heritage Lottery Fund.
The project has been a great success but the future could be even brighter now we have worked with Forestry Commission Scotland to tailor a grant system better suited to croft land and croft businesses.
Specific woodland grants previously only available in the Western Isles and Northern Isles are being extended to the Inner Hebrides and mainland crofting counties where similar conditions to the Western and Northern Islands are found.